I’m cheating this week and asking my own mailbag question, which is:
Who is the best tight end the Rams have ever drafted?
Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at the best quarterback, running back and wide receiver the Rams have selected in their franchise history.
I know what you’re thinking. This is a waste of time. The answer is obviously Dominique Byrd, so why even waste our time examining other candidates? Because! That’s why.
First, here are the tight ends the Rams have selected since 1960.
(Waiting for you to digest…)
What a shitty list, right?!
Out of all the tight ends the Rams have ever drafted, the one that played the most games in the NFL was Brandon Manumaleuna. So that’s the level of talent we’re dealing with here.
But I have to choose somebody, and that somebody is Ernie Conwell.
Conwell was selected by the Rams 59th overall in the 1996 draft and was always a fan favorite among Rams fans. Unfortunately, Conwell’s great attitude and positive demeanor did not correlate with him staying healthy. Conwell played seven seasons with the Rams from 1996-2002 and four for the Saints from 2003-2006. For the Rams, Conwell played in just 83 of 112 games. For the Saints, he played in just 42 of 64 games.
Still, despite missing 30 percent of his career games, Conwell made a big impact for some really good teams. Although he was injured during most of the Rams’ miraculous Super Bowl run, he logged significant playing time for the Greatest Show on Turf teams in 2000 and 2001 and earned Second Team All-Pro Honors from the Associated Press in 2001 after catching 38 passes for 431 yards and four touchdowns*.
*If those numbers don’t blow you away, you need to remember that Mike Martz’s offenses treated tight ends as an afterthought. Adjusted for Mike Martz deflation, those numbers would look more like 80 catches for 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Conwell was also a very good blocker, although I’m relying mostly on memory when I say that.
Anyway, Ernie Conwell is the best tight end the Rams have ever drafted in my eyes. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below.