As you regular readers know, we’ve put together quite a few “best players drafted” articles over the past few weeks. Today, it’s time to determine the best outside linebacker the Rams franchise has ever drafted.
This rather cut and dry, although Roman Phifer and Jack Pardee and Isiah Robertson deserve honorable mentions. (You can see the full list of drafted linebackers here.)
But the best outside linebacker the Rams have ever drafted is Kevin Greene. The Rams selected Greene in the fifth round of the 1985 draft, 113th overall. As you might expect from a fifth-round pick, Greene had to prove himself before earning playing time. He didn’t start any games in his first three seasons and had a very quiet first season. However, in seasons two and three, Greene managed to rack up 13.5 sacks in 25 games. By season four, Greene was starting and making a huge impact.
Over the next five seasons, from 1988-1992, Greene compiled 59 sacks, 13 forced fumbles and 313 tackles. Greene went on to play seven more seasons after he left the Rams in 1992. He retired as the NFL’s third best sack artist of all-time with 160 career sacks, trailing only Bruce Smith and Reggie White*. Fifteen years later, that ranking still holds. Not bad company at all.
*Although, as I made sure to mention in my Deacon Jones piece, sacks only became an official stat in 1982, which unfortunately slights a lot of great pre-1982 quarterback-terrorizers.
Greene, a two-time first team All-Pro selection, has been on the fringe of making the Hall of Fame ever since he retired but hasn’t quite garnered the votes to get into Canton. However, he will always have the title as cover32′s best outside linebacker the Rams franchise has ever drafted, which counts for something, right? Right?