Let’s travel back to the mystical era of the 1980s. It was the era with questionable fashion sense, interesting music selection and also brought you the delightfully cheesy NFL music video “Let’s Ram It.” However, some of the Rams’ most legendary players came from the 1980s. Here’s a breakdown of the top five Rams of the decade:
5. DB Nolan Cromwell (1977-1987)
Cromwell is easily one of the best defensive backs in franchise history. It’s hard not praise a guy that hit hard and had a nose for the football. Cromwell made his presence felt almost immediately. He set the tone for his career early on that if he was going to participate on special teams, Cromwell was going to prove that he would be a future impact player. In 1980, Cromwell earned his chance to shine, and he proved to the coaching staff that they made the right call. It was his most productive year, earning a total of eight interceptions. His claim to fame didn’t stop there. Cromwell took First-Team All-Pro honors in three consecutive years (1980-1982) and added four Pro Bowl berths in a row (1980-1983).
4. WR Henry Ellard (1983-1993)
Ellard was one of the purest all-around athletic receivers to ever play the game. In a game of numbers, Ellard’s stats speak for themselves, but nothing can describe his raw athleticism like watching the film. He was an expert route-runner, who possessed insane speed and used every inch of his height to his advantage. Ellard was a defensive back’s nightmare.
Don’t take my word for it. The stats don’t lie. Ellard compiled the best season of his career in 1988, whene he led the league in receiving yards with 1,414 and 10 touchdowns. He earned three Pro Bowl selections (1984, 1988 and 1989) and two First-Team All-Pro honors (1984 and 1988) during his career. Ellard ended his time as a Ram with some of the best stats in franchise history, finishing with 13,777 receiving yards and 65 touchdowns.
3. OG Dennis Harrah (1975-1987)
Harrah is not only one of the most underrated Ram players of all time, but he’s also one of the most overlooked offensive linemen in NFL history. The six-time Pro Bowler helped pave the way for numerous Rams running backs and was part of some of the best offensive lines in franchise history. True, Harrah did have some impressive seasons in the 1970s, but some of the best years were in the 1980s. In fact, during the 1980 season, the Rams were second in the league in total yards with an astonishing 6,006 yards. They actually led the league in rushing yards that year with 2,799. None of that is possible without a talented guard creating holes. Even later in his career Harrah shined by helping running back Eric Dickerson earn 1,821 yards in 1986. So remind me again why Harrah isn’t a Hall of Famer?
1. OT Jackie Slater (1976-1995)
Most people realize which player was named No. 1 for this era, but for me it’s a tie. What’s the reason for the tie? Offensive linemen are usually not shown much love, which puzzles me to this day. Slater is by far one of the most dominant tackles to ever play the game. He played over 20 seasons with the Rams. To put that into perspective, he played in three different decades. This Hall of Famer participated in seven total Pro Bowls, and opened holes for guys like Charles White, Greg Bell, Cleveland Gary, Wendell Tyler and the co-No. 1 player on this list. There will never be another Slater, and that’s why nobody will dawn the No. 78 in a Rams uniform.
1. RB Eric Dickerson (1983-1987)
Most have figured it out by now, but the other No. 1 player on this list is Eric Dickerson. There is a reason why his name is often linked to this franchise and the city of Los Angeles. This legendary running back didn’t run the football, he glided. He made rushing the football seem effortless. Mr. Fourth Quarter himself often took the reins of the game and lit up the football field while everyone else was winding down.
Statisticians must love to evaluate Dickerson’s career, because there are so much to look at. What’s the best way to enter the league? How about setting the rookie rushing record with 1,808 yards? To top that off, Dickerson stunned the league once more by setting the record all running backs aspire to break: the single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards. Dickerson also led the league in rushing yards in four seasons (1983, 1984, 1986 and 1988). He was selected to the Pro Bowl six times and was named to First-Team All-Pro five times. He wrapped up his legendary career with 13,259 rushing yards and 90 touchdowns.