We're closing in on the 2021 NFL Draft and we here at CBS Sports are continuing our countdown to when the Jacksonville Jaguars are officially on the clock by ranking the best of the best to ever be selected in the top 32 spots. We've already gone through half of the draft -- which you can get caught up with here -- and today we'll be diving into the No. 14 overall selection, which does include a number of Hall of Fame talents. As you've seen thus far with these rankings, the decision-making process involves a number of factors: career accolades, Hall of Fame induction, and a general gut feel for whether or not they should be held in such high regard for their impact on the game. That same calculus will be factored in here in our rankings of the best ever to be selected at No. 14.
This year, the Minnesota Vikings are currently sitting with the No. 14 pick, and our CBS Sports NFL Draft experts have the likes of Florida defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips, offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw out of Virginia Tech, and Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater possibly being the choice here. Of course, there's always a chance that in a decade from now whoever is the pick here at No. 14 this year can ascend into this top five. In the meantime, however, here's who made the cut.
5. Randy Gradishar, linebacker
After a collegiate career that found him not only a member of the Ohio State Football All-Century Team but an inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame in1987, Randy Gradishar went on to find similar success with the Broncos. He spent his entire pro career in Denver and became one of the better linebackers of his day and in franchise history. He was elected to seven Pro Bowls and was a six-time All-Pro, including the 1978 season where he was named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year. Gradishar was a central figure in the Broncos' "Orange Crush Defense" that was able to reach Super Bowl XII and was later enshrined in the club's Ring of Fame in 1989.
Statistically, it's admittedly hard to place Gradishar in context with some of his contemporaries due to the league not officially tallying most of his stats throughout his tenure. According to the Broncos Ring of Fame website, however, he is the team's all-time leader in tackles with 2,049 and led the team in that category for a franchise-record nine consecutive seasons. He also finished with 20 interceptions, which is tied with teammate Tom Jackson for the most by a Broncos linebacker.
Gradishar was one of the Broncos' brightest stars and was one of the precursors to the successes they'd enjoy with quarterback John Elway, who arrived in Denver during his final pro season in 1983. While he may not have been able to enjoy the Super Bowl success Elway did, Gradishar is one of the better players of his era and one of the greatest Broncos of all time, which is plenty enough to get him inside the top five of this list of legends.
4. Dave Robinson, linebacker
What's a bit interesting about Robinson is that there's an argument that you place him inside this "Five Greatest Players to be Drafted X Overall" series twice. On top of the Packers tacking the Penn State star with the No. 14 overall pick, the San Diego Chargers also picked Robinson with the No. 17 overall pick in the AFL Draft. Of course, because he elected to sign with the Packers, we're placing him at No. 14 and that decision proved to be extremely beneficial for all parties involved.
Upon his arrival to Green Bay, Robinson evolved into one of the better linebackers in franchise history and a clutch figure for coach Vince Lombardi. Most notably, Robinson was able to apply pressure on Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith in the 1966 NFL Championship, which forced him to make an errant pass that was picked off by Green Bay to secure the win. In all, Robinson helped the organization to five championships, including back-to-back victories in Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II. Those efforts eventually landed Robinson into the Packers Hall of Fame. Not only that, but Robinson was looked at as elite league-wide and was named to the Pro Bowl and an All-Pro three times throughout his career and tapped for the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1960s. In 2013, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Robinson played 12 seasons and is one of the greatest Packers of all time and a key cog in the franchise's most successful period in its history. With that type of résumé that is filled with championships and a gold jacket, no one should be surprised he's firmly in this top five.
3. Darrelle Revis, cornerback
Darrelle Revis is the most modern player that lands inside this list and for good reason. Throughout his playing days, the corner was looked at as the most dominating player at his position. After being selected by New York in the first round out of Pittsburgh, Revis would go on to be named to seven Pro Bowls and was awarded four first-team All-Pro nominations. He was able to win a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in 2014 but was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2010s largely thanks to his days as a member of the Jets.
During those early days in New York, "Revis Island" wasn't exactly a tropical paradise for opposing wide receivers. Instead, it was a barren wasteland where the corner almost always came out on top. The 2009 season was a prime example of Revis' dominance as he squared up against some of the league's best receivers -- Randy Moss (twice), Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, Chad Ochocinco, and Terrell Owens (twice) -- and held them all to under 35 yards receiving. That's the definition of dominant. Revis was a true shutdown corner during an era where the game is catered to the quarterbacks having success through the air. He may not have a gold jacket currently, but that's coming in short order (first eligible in 2023).
2. Gino Marchetti, defensive end
At the time of Gino Marchetti's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 1972, he was looked at as arguably the greatest defensive end of all time, which certainly puts him in the top tier on this list. He was named to the Pro Bowl 11 times throughout his career while also receiving 10 All-Pro nods (nine first-team). He was a dominant figure in the Baltimore Colts' defense and was known as an all-around defensive star, but particularly great a pressuring the quarterback. Over his tenure, Marchetti's Colts won two NFL championships and his efforts on the field have him currently enshrined in the Ravens' Ring of Honor. Not only that but Marchetti is also a member of the NFL's 50th, 75th, and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams.
Because stats were not as steadily recorded during his day, it's a bit difficult to put Marchetti's impact on the NFL in further context, but for his era, you simply couldn't get much better.
1. Jim Kelly, quarterback
1983 NFL Draft: Round 1, No. 14 (Miami)
Team(s): Buffalo Bills (1986-1996)
This was a pretty clear selection after combing through all the of the greats to be picked at No. 14. The only blemish on Kelly's résumé is, of course, the lack of a Super Bowl title. The Bills legend was able to reach the big game in four consecutive years but was unfortunately unable to fully get Buffalo over the hump. Other than that, Kelly's career was superb and had his club as a perennial playoff contender, reaching the postseason in eight of his 11 seasons. Kelly was the triggerman behind the K-Gun no-huddle offense that took the league by storm and found tremendous success through the air. For his career, he threw for nearly 35,500 yards, which is quite impressive considering the era in which he was playing and made Kelly one of the key arcs to the modern passing attack that we see in the NFL.
He was named to the Pro Bowl five times throughout his career and received two All-Pro nods. His No. 12 is retired by the Buffalo Bills, is a member of the franchise's Wall of Fame and is currently the club's all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns. Kelly was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame back in 2002, marking the cherry on top of what is growing into one of the more underrated careers in NFL history.