Since the Los Angeles Rams have a couple of third-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, let’s revisit some of the top third-rounders in franchise history. It’s actually more challenging than I thought to pick just five. See if you can guess before the list begins. Also, I’m not including Cooper Kupp or John Johnson because it’s too early in their career. I totally believe that they have the potential to be on this list someday, but it’s still early to call.
Jackson State OT Jackie Slater
Selection: 86th overall of the 1976 NFL Draft
Slater is easily the most notable third-rounder in franchise history. The Hall of Fame tackle is responsible for establishing some of the best offenses the Rams have ever seen. One player that did benefit from Slater’s blocking is Eric Dickerson. With seven Pro Bowls under his belt, Slater doesn’t really need an introduction. For a more thorough look at his legacy, we have an article to tribute his career. Not a bad steal drafting a Hall of Famer in the third round.
Colorado State RB Lawrence McCutcheon
Selection: 70th overall of the 1972 NFL Draft
The Rams do have knack at drafting running backs. McCutcheon doesn’t receive the recognition he deserves. True, there is a long list of great RBs, but he’s been a huge contributor to the franchise for decades. Making five consecutive Pro Bowl appearances (1973-1977), McCutcheon is fourth on the Rams’ all-time rushing leaders. At 6,186 rushing yards, he trails only Marshall Faulk (6,959 yards), Dickerson (7,245 yards) and Steven Jackson (10,138 yards). Not bad to be mentioned in the same breath as these great players. Top that off at being part of the historic 1979 team, and the Rams did score on McCutcheon as a third-round gem.
Kansas CB LeRoy Irvin
Selection: 70th overall of the 1980 NFL Draft
Another player that doesn’t get a lot of love is Irvin. This is more of a factual statement for the NFL in general, Ram fans recall all that he contributed. Irvin is the epitome of a shutdown corner, and he had to be going up against guys like Joe Montana. In 10 seasons, Irvin collected 34 interceptions. He did take two trips to the Pro Bowl in 1985 and 1986. As a bonus, his punt/kick returning skills were also a dangerous asset for him.
Tennessee LB Leonard Little
Selection: 65th overall of the 1998 NFL Draft
Part of the Super Bowl XXXIV and XXXVI teams, Little made a big difference. Little impressed many in 2001 by earning 14.5 sacks in just 13 games. Oddly enough, he didn’t make it to the Pro Bowl roster that year. That did change in 2003 where he picked up 12.5 sacks. It may be his only Pro Bowl selection, but as a player that achieved double-digit sacks four times in his career, it’s safe he’s underrated. He earned 364 total tackles, 87.5 sacks and 31 forced fumbles in 12 seasons with the Rams.
UCLA RB Wendell Tyler
Selection: 79th overall of the 1977 NFL Draft
Tyler is another causality of underrated RBs from this franchise. While he didn’t spend his entire career in a Rams uniform, he did make a huge impact for several seasons. He did earn two 1,000-yard seasons in 1979 and 1981. It’s difficult to find 1,000-yard rushers in the first round, much less the third round. Tyler is a guy you didn’t want to give too much room to work with or else he’d leave defenders in the dust, with the visual of him crossing the end zone. In six seasons with the Rams, he earned 3,266 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns.
Texas A&M S Dave Elmendorf
Selection: 63rd overall of the 1971 NFL Draft
Montana CB Trumaine Johnson
Selection: 65th overall of the 2012 NFL Draft