This upcoming Sunday is the Hall Of Fame Game in Canton Ohio where the legends of the game live. I have gotten the opportunity to go twice, and it’s always a new, great, unforgettable experience. Every football fan should go at least once. That got me thinking of who are the Rams greatest players, and who would I put on the St. Louis Rams all-time greatest team. Here is who I selected.
Quarterback: Kurt Warner
For me this was an easy decision. Warner may have had a short career with the Rams that had its ups and downs, but in the short time he had with the Rams from 1998-2003, Warner lead the Rams to two Super Bowls and one of the most magical, unexpected Super Bowl runs in NFL history. What makes it even more amazing is that even though Warner was with the team for six years he was really only the starter in three of them as he was hurt, or the backup in the other three. In the end Warner was the obvious choice, and will one day get inducted into Canton.
Running Back: Eric Dickerson, Steven Jackson, and Marshall Faulk
At running back I couldn’t pick just one or two, in my opinion, all three deserve to be on this list. Dickerson is hands down one of the best players to ever play the game, Steven Jackson is the Rams all-time leading rusher, and Faulk was the reason the Rams were as good on offense as they were. Faulk may be the best all-around running back of all time. On this team the Rams have a three headed monster at running back and take the committee approach. Faulk and Dickerson are already in the Hall and one day number 39 will join them.
Wide Receiver: Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Tom Fears, Henry Ellard, and Flipper Anderson
Once again, another very tough list to choose from, but these are the five players that narrowed it down to and this is the order that I would have them on the depth chart. Isaac Bruce is one of the best all-time Rams. Bruce had 8 1,000 yard season and in 1995 he had 1,781 yards receiving which was 67 yards behind Jerry Rice’s all time record until Calvin Johnson broke that last season. Bruce caught the game winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl 34 and was also a huge part of the Rams’ success along with the next person of the list, Torry Holt. Holt is the last Rams receiver to receive for 1,000 yards. Throughout his career, Holt had eight consecutive 1,000 yard seasons and ranks second in receiving yards in team history behind only Isaac Bruce. Bruce will probably make it to Canton someday, he may not be a first ballot, but he should get in. Holt on the other hand deserves to get in, but it may take him a a few years. Nobody probably remembers the great Tom Fears, heck I didn’t know he even existed until about twenty minutes ago. Anyways Fears played back in the late 40′s and 50′s for the Rams and was quite the football player. Fears had back to back 1,000 yard seasons in an era when they didn’t pass the ball eight plays put of ten like some teams do in today’s game. Fears also mad the pro-bowl once as well as being name to the all-pro team once. Fears was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1970. Henry Ellard is another one of the great Rams wide receivers. Ellard was a huge part of the Rams offense back in the 80′s and managed four consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Ellard made the pro-bowl three times as well as being named all-pro twice. Last, but certainly not least is Willie Anderson, more commonly known as Flipper Anderson. Anderson was a pretty popular player back in the late 80′s and early 90′s for the Rams during the Jim Everett era. Anderson wasn’t a power house wide receiver, but he did have back to back 1,000 yard seasons which is why I put him on this list instead of Jack Snow.
Tight End: Ernie Conwell and Jim Benton
Another member of that greatest show on turf is Ernie Conwell. Conwell may not have been the focus of the offense, but he did make his fair share of plays. Conwell made the pro bowl in 2001 and then when he left the team in 2002 he was never really the same player. Now only you old, old time Rams fans might remember this guy, Jim Benton. Benton played for the Rams in the late 30′s and through the 40′s. Dee to the fact that the tight end position didn’t even exist back in the day. Benton technically played the “end” position. Benton was an All-Pro for the Rams in both 1945 and 1946, and he was a member of the very first Los Angeles Rams team in 1946. He also made the Pro Bowl in 1939 andHe was named as a member of the 1940′s All-Decade team.
Offensive Line: T-Orlando Pace, G-Tom Mack, C-Rich Saul, G-Dennis Harrah, and T-Jack Slater
In order to be a good football team you have to be good up front, and that’s exactly what the Rams were thinking in 1997 when they took Pace with the number ne overall pick. Pace went on toprotect Warner’s blind side during the greatest show on turf, make seven consecutive pro bowls, and was named five time all-pro. Pace will definitely make it to Canton once he becomes eligible.To be a good offensive lineman you have to be able to block obviously and be able to stay on the field healthy. Tom Mack did just that. Mack only missed two game from the time he took over to the time he retired. Mack mad the pro bowl 11 times in his 13 year career and was also a four time all-pro. Rick Saul had a good solid 12 year career with the Rams making six consecutive pro bowls before he decided to call it quits. There is really no choice, but to put Saul on the list. Dennis Harrah was another guy from the 1979 Rams offensive line which just happened to be pretty good. Harrah had a good long tenure with the Rams. Harrah was a consistent player for the Rams and had a solid career going to six pro bowls. Finally on to right tackle Jack Slater. Slater played a remarkable 20 years in the NFL and started 211 of 259 games. Unless your name is Brett Favre, nobody plays 20 years in the NFL. Slater was a seven time pro-bowler, three time all-pro, and Hall of Fame class of 2001. His jersey is also one of the few retired by the Rams.
Special Teams: Jeff Wilkins, Donnie Jones, Az-Zahir Hakim
The Rams have been pretty lucky when it comes to kickers. Jeff Wilkins was as good as they come and was named to the pro bowl in 2003 after making 92.9% of his field goals. Wilkins could also be the reason Zurlein made his game tying and game winning field goals against the 49ers as Wilkins was there watching and gave Zurlein some good words of advice. Wilkins scored 1,223 points during his career with the Rams, and he retired after the 2007 season. Wilkins is on this list right now, but if Zurlein continues to pregress, he could definitely overtake Wilkins. Donnie Jones is my punter on this list right now, but Johnny Hekker is well on his way to putting himself on this list. In his four years with the team he had a combined average of 47.4 yards per punt, and he averaged 50.0 yards per punt in 2008. Hakim not only made an impact in the passing game, but did his fair share of damage in the return game. Plus he has a pretty cool name, so that alone could get him on this list.
The Rams have had some pretty good offenses in the past, but when push comes to shove, these players are without a doubt the best of the best. Next time we will have the greatest all-time defense players on the list. Ill warn you now, some of the names might surprise you so make sure you check it out.