Top 30 Draft Selections in St. Louis Rams History

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Jan 1, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Rose Bowl hall of fame inductee Orlando Pace at the 100th Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

1. Orlando Pace, OT, Round 1, Pick 1 Overall, 1997

Interestingly, the best draft pick in St. Louis Rams history is a player that was considered the best player in his draft class and was selected first overall. Orlando Pace was considered a game-changing left tackle as he came out of Ohio State in 1997, and he definitely delivered on his potential after the Rams chose to trade for the first overall pick and make him the first offensive lineman to be selected with the draft’s top pick since 1968.

Pace took a few weeks to get up to speed in the Rams’ offense after missing much of his rookie training camp due to a holdout, but he made his starting debut in Week 4 and really didn’t look back for the rest of his career. The 6-foot-7, 325-pounder started every single game from 1998 through 2001, protecting Kurt Warner as he led one of the NFL’s greatest passing attacks of all time from ’99 to ’01. In addition to serving as both an extremely reliable pass protector and powerful run blocker, Pace was very disciplined. He wasn’t called for a holding penalty from December of 1999 through September of 2004, and he had just eight accepted holding penalties in total through his 12-year Rams career. For reference, the Rams’ current left tackle, Greg Robinson, has eight accepted holding penalties through 2015 alone.

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Pace, who started all 16 games in seven of his first nine NFL seasons, became more injury-plagued as he got into his thirties, and he missed 25 games over his last three seasons with the Rams. He was released following the 2008 season and played one more season with the Chicago Bears before retiring. After being somewhat surprisingly left out of the 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class, Pace is on the list of semifinalists again for 2016 and is widely expected to be inducted on his second try. While he doesn’t really have any measurable stats, Pace is widely regarded as one of the best offensive tackles in NFL history, and he earns the nod here as the greatest draft pick in St. Louis Rams history.