8. Randy Gradishar
Not many people around here remember Randy Gradishar. He played for the Ohio State football team from 1971-73 under Woody Hayes. Woody called him the finest linebacker he’s ever coached. If you get that kind of praise from Woody, then you did some things right.
He was a consensus All-American in 1972 and a unanimous All-American in 1973. After his time with the Buckeyes, he was a first-round pick by the Denver Broncos. Gradishar played his entire ten-year career with the Broncos and was probably their best defender on the team.
Gradishar was a seven-time Pro Bowl player. He was also named Second-team All-Pro three times and was a First-team All-Pro twice. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1978. Gradishar is in Denver’s Ring of Honor as well as being on Ohio State’s All-Century Team.
Gradishar might still get into the NFL Hall of Fame as well. He is a finalist for the 2024 class, so he could still get in by the time the Super Bowl rolls around. I think that would be a well-deserved honor for someone as good as he was. I bet he gets in.
The next player on our list is someone who has played football a little more recently than Gradishar but is also still looking for that Hall of Fame nomination.