Top 30 Draft Selections in St. Louis Rams History

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Nov 8, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; St. Louis Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis (55) against the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Rams 21-18. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

5. James Laurinaitis, LB, Round 2, Pick 35 Overall, 2009

In 2009, the Rams made perhaps their worst first-round selection since moving to St. Louis when they took Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith, who would go on to play in just 29 games with the Rams before being traded away, with the second overall pick. Fortunately, the team made its best-ever second-round selection one round later, as middle linebacker James Laurinaitis was selected out of Ohio State.

Laurinaitis was a plug-and-play starter for the Rams, and he provided a major boost to a defense that had been weak at the linebacker position for the latter part of the 2000s. Since then, he’s teamed with 2008 first-rounder Chris Long to be one of the veteran anchors of the Rams’ defense, and Laurinaitis is now tied for the third-longest tenure among any defensive player in St. Louis Rams history.

Over seven seasons, Laurinaitis is by far the Rams’ top all-time leading tackler, accumulating a combined 845 tackles in 110 games. He’s been exceptionally durable, starting in every single game thus far through his NFL career. While he hasn’t really had one season that has stood out above all the others in terms of productivity, he’s been continually consistent. He led the Rams in tackles every season from 2009 to 2012, and he has a chance to do so again in 2015 if he can overtake Mark Barron, who currently has 105 tackles, compared to Laurinaitis’s 101.

Next: 4. Steven Jackson