Los Angeles Rams: Ranking the top 5 wide receivers in team history

Los Angeles Rams wide receivers have flown under the radar compared to other positions in franchise history.

Los Angeles Rams wide receivers are in abundance on the 2017 summer roster. 12 Rams — all 27 years old or younger — currently are competing for roster spots. The good thing about coach Sean McVay’s offensive scheme is that it utilizes several recievers. But the coaching staff also is eager to discover a potential No. 1 wideout along the way.

The Rams long have had a tradition of standout defensive linemen, and, to a lesser extent, running backs. But the franchise also has enjoyed some standout pass-catchers.

Here is one perspective of the team’s all-time top 5 Rams wide receivers. Note that running backs are not included in this list.

5. Henry Ellard (1983-93)

A clutch performer with great hands, Ellard is No. 3 all-time on both the Rams’ receptions and receiving yards lists. He became the first Ram in 36 years to lead the NFL in receiving yards in 1987 when he totaled 1,414 on 86 receptions.

Ellard led the team in receptions every year after his rookie season.  The Rams went to the playoffs in six of his first seven years with the team. They lost in the NFC Championship Game twice during that span.

Ellard moved on to the Washington Redskins in 1994 and had sustained success with three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He had 74 receptions for 1,397 yards and six touchdowns for Washington in 1994.

4. Torry Holt (1999-2008)

Holt ranks No. 2 to teammate Isaac Bruce in receptions (869), yards (12,660) and touchdowns (74). However, Holt’s season averages were higher than that of his teammate and was the primary target when the two played together.

Holt led the league twice in receiving yards. He had 1,696 receiving yards in 2003 (on 117 receptions and 12 touchdowns) and it 2000 (1,635 receiving yards on 82 catches and six touchdowns). The 19.9-yard average per reception in 2000 was the best of his career. He had eight consecutive seasons of 1,000-yard seasons, starting in 2000. Holt also set an NFL record with six consecutive seasons of 1,300 yards or more from 2000-05.

He was the lead receiver for much of the “Greatest Show on Turf” years. The only drawback on his resumé was the fact that he was not the primary receiver during the Rams’ championship season in 1999.

3. Tom Fears (1948-56)

The nine-year NFL veteran set league records for receptions in back-to-back seasons in 1949 (77 receptions) and 1950 (84 receptions), and he led the Rams in receptions for three consecutive seasons (1948-1950).

Fears ranks sixth all-time in franchise history with 400 receptions but is the fourth-leading receiver. He’s No. 6 on the Rams’ receiving yards list with 5,397 yards, regardless of position. He’s also No. 6 in Rams career touchdown receptions with 38.

It didn’t hurt that Fears had quarterback Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brockin passing to him, helping kickstart a Hall of Fame career. Another significant statistic is that the Rams advanced to the NFL championship games in 1949 and 1950, the years in which he was rewriting the receptions record book.

Not bad for an 11th-round draft pick in 1945.

2. Isaac Bruce (1994-2007)

Mr. Reliable during the St. Louis years, Bruce is the clubhouse leader in catches (942), receiving yards (14,109) and touchdowns (84).

He had the greatest single season statistically for the Rams in 1995 when he had 119 receptions for 1,718 yards and 13 touchdowns — all astonishing totals. Unfortunately for Bruce, Detroit’s Herman Moore set an NFL record that season with 123 receptions, and San Francisco’s Jerry Rice set a league record with 1,848 receiving yards.

Bruce did lead the league in receiving yardage in 1996 with 1,338 receiving yards. In 2009, Bruce became the second wide receiver in NFL history to amass 15,000 receiving yards. He was a key figure in the Rams’ 1999 Super Bowl run with 77 receptions for 1,165 yards and 12 touchdowns.

1. Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch (1949-57)

Hirsch may not have the longevity of Bruce, or the productivity of Holt. In fact, Hirsch ranks seventh on the franchise’s all-time catches list with 400. He ranks fourth in receiving yards with 6,299 and third in touchdowns with 53. As a bonus, Hirsch’s whopping 18.36 yards per catch provides a glimpse into his explosiveness.

The Rams already had Tom Fears, who led the NFL in receptions and receiving in 1949-50, when Hirsch was starting out. Amazingly, Hirsch also played defensive back for the Rams. But in 1951, Hirsch assumed the mantle of primary target from Fears and made an imprint in the NFL record books.

Hirsch had 66 receptions for a league-setting 1,495 yards with 17 touchdowns. Along with that, the yardage mark stood for 10 seasons. And his record-setting performance came during a season in which the Rams won the NFL Championship.

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