Ranking each of the Hall of Fame semi-finalists for the Broncos

- Could the biggest name from the Orange Crush defense finally gain entry?

- Three former coaches make the list

Buffalo Bills v Denver Broncos
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Randy Gradishar, Denver Broncos
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Linebacker, 1974-1983. 45. Randy Gradishar. . . Randy Gradishar. . . 1.

This is the drum I won't stop beating until the call comes and with any luck, that will be this year. Randy Gradishar is on a really short list of the most deserving former NFL players of the Hall of Fame who aren't already there.

The No. 14 overall pick in the 1974 draft out of Ohio State, Gradishar was one of the best overall linebackers in the NFL for 10 seasons.

For this reason alone, Gradishar should be in: The Orange Crush defense is recognized as one of the best in NFL history. There isn't one member of that defense in the Hall of Fame, and Gradishar was the man that anchored it.

He was absolute tackling machine but he also had 19.5 sacks and 20 interceptions in his career. As the man in the middle of the defense, he truly did not have a single weakness and in 1978, was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The next three players in the voting for that award that year were Jack Ham, Randy White and Jack Lambert. All three of them are in the Hall of Fame and at this point, it is pure craziness that Gradishar has not joined them.

Though Shanahan may be more likely to get the votes needed to get into the Hall of Fame as one of the best coaches in league history, voters should not overlook Gradishar simply due to the fact that it's been 40 years since he played.

He needs to get the nod and hopefully, this is the year.

Next. Wins over rivals. Remembering the best Broncos wins over rivals in the AFC West. dark