We could do a list of the best running backs in Los Angeles Rams history, or we could do a list of the best Ram running back names. Today, we are ranking our best Rams running backs of all-time.
Consider. The Rams have had an Amp (Lee) at running back, a Tre (Mason), a Trung (Canidate), Skeets (Quinlan) back in the 50s – they don’t make names like they used to, and an Elvis (Peacock).
Also, the Rams have had Greg Bell (he was good), Eddie Hill and Greg Hill. They also had Marcus Dupree way past his prime, unfortunately, and basically set the NFL on fire when they had Lawrence Phillips out of Nebraska.
Each one of those Ram running backs is a great story, and a great name, but are they one of the 10 best? Read on and find out.
10. Cullen Bryant
Bryant was picked in the second round out of Colorado in 1973 and then had 10 carries his first two years combined.
Can you envision any NFL team doing that today?
Bryant was an excellent return man for the Rams, and finally had a breakthrough season in 1975 and became a big part of their backfield in the late 70s. He and Wendell Tyler formed an incredible combination that led the Rams to Super Bowl XIV. He still ranks 11 th all-time in Rams franchise history, with 3,119 yards, even though he never was the main Rams ball carrier. Bryant came back and played for the Rams during the 1987 strike.
9. Charles White
The 1987 NFL season belonged to Charles White. It was an incredible story.
White was the Man at USC helping it become Tailback U. He won a Heisman Trophy and gets picked by the Cleveland Browns in the 1980 NFL Draft.
But all the power, all the speed he showed at USC was gone.
Why? White had trouble with drug abuse.
After four horrible years with the Browns, he signs with the Rams in 1985. He’s a back-up, a nice homecoming story. Then in 1987, Eric Dickerson gets traded and White becomes The Man again in Los Angeles for Coach John Robinson. He leads the NFL in touches with 347 and runs for 1,374 yards and 11 touchdowns. He wins the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, but the Rams are 6-9.
The next year White is back to being a back-up for Greg Bell. That 1987 season was his one big NFL moment.
8. Wendell Tyler
There’s a great trivia question about Tyler. He’s the first player to lead two different teams in rushing in a Super Bowl. He led the Rams with 60 yards in Super Bowl XIV (a loss) and led the Niners in Super Bowl XIX with 65 yards (Niners whipped the Dolphins).
Tyler was drafted by the Rams out of UCLA. He was ahead of his time, in that he was a versatile runner and receiver. He played six years with the Rams, going over 1000 yards in 1979 and 1980.
7. Todd Gurley
I mean, what do we do with Gurley here? He was like a shooting star. His first year with the franchise was its last in St. Louis. Then he comes out to LA, the Rams hire Sean McVay and for two years (2017 and 2018) Gurley is probably the best running back in the NFL.
Then in the Super Bowl against the Patriots, Gurley gets stuffed. There’s talk he has a bad knee. He denies it, but its true. Gurley played for the Rams again in 2019, but didn’t look the same. He spent a year with the Falcons but the magic was gone.
Gurley, at just age 28, announced his retirement from the NFL in November of 2022.
6. Dick Bass
Officially, Richard Lee Bass, he was a fullback who played for the Rams from 1960-69. He still ranks No. 5 on the Rams franchise list with 5,417 yards, but my favorite stat? He fumbled the ball 43 times.
That never happens anymore.
Bass was a West Coast school boy legend, playing at the University of Pacific before joining the Rams as the No. 2 overall pick in 1959.
His best season was in 1967, he combined with Les Josephson in the Rams backfield to create a dominating 1-2 punch (just like Tyler and Bryant). The Rams were 11-1-2 and the favorite to make the Super Bowl, but lost to Lombardi and the Packers in the first round.
Bass retired and was well liked for being the color man on the Rams radio broadcasts. He died in 2006.
5. Lawrence McCutcheon
McCutcheon is an incredibly underrated NFL player.
He was a third-round pick out of Colorado State for the Rams and played with the team from 1972-79. For a five-year span, McCutcheon was one of the best running backs in the NFL. He never got hurt. He would give you four yards a carry and go over 1,000 yards.
But in those five years, the Rams could never get over the hump in the playoffs. They went to three NFC Championship games and lost, twice to the Vikings and once to the Cowboys.
McCutcheon shipped out and spent time with the Broncos and Seahawks in 1980, then one last year with the Bills. He finished with 6,186 yards in his career.
4. Jerome Bettis
Pretty much maybe the worst decision in Rams franchise history.
They traded “The Bus.”
Bettis was the NFL Rookie of the Year with the Rams in 1993, running for 1,429 yards and seven scores. He followed that up with another big year (for a bad team) in 1994.
In 1995, Rich Brooks took over as coach and wanted to turn the Rams into a passing team for some reason. Great move Rich. They asked Bettis to play fullback. When he was like, “no” the Rams traded him to the Steelers for a couple of draft picks.
And that was it.
Bettis spent 10 years with the Steelers, becoming a signature player for the franchise. He won a Super Bowl there, made six Pro Bowls. He’s in the NFL Hall of Fame.
And the Rams had him.
3. Steven Jackson
Big No. 39 was the Rams offense for almost a decade. He’s the franchise’s all-time leading rusher with 10,138 yards. He was a first-round pick out of Oregon State, an amazing combination of speed and size, who made three Pro Bowls.
That’s the good news.
The bad news was with the Rams his teams went: 8-8, 6-10, 8-8, 3-13, 2-14, 1-15, 7-9, 2-14 and 7-8-1. He never played on a winning team in a Rams jersey.
After nine years with the Rams, he went to Atlanta and was good for two years there, but the Falcons also didn’t win. Finally, in 2015, he played for the Patriots who went 12-4.
Jackson officially retired as a Ram in 2019, signing a ceremonial contract.
2. Marshall Faulk
The New Orleans-native was the Greatest Show on Turf for the Rams when they were in St. Louis. He was a rare combination of speed, agility and power.
The Rams got Faulk from the Colts for a couple of picks and rode him to a Super Bowl XXXIV championship. His stats and records are amazing. In 1999, he went over 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He led the NFL that year with an eye-popping 2,429 scrimmage yards.
Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last. The Rams got back to the Super Bowl, but lost to the Patriots and some guy named Tom Brady. Faulk began to get banged up. He officially retired in 2007.
He was inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame in his first year he was eligible.
1. Eric Dickerson
Number one has to be Dickerson, right? In 1984, Dickerson ran for an NFL single-season record of 2,105, and here were are almost 40 years later and that record is still standing.
With a distinctive upright style, Dickerson just sort of flowed through the hole and when he saw an opening, zip…he was gone. With the Rams he finished with 7,245 yards and 56 touchdowns.
And since he was a Rams legend, they did everything they could to make him happy, right?
No. Dickerson and the Rams were constantly at odds over money. He was traded to the Colts in his prime and played five years in Indianapolis. Then he spent a year with the Raiders and one with the Falcons.
Dickerson ranks No. 9 all-time in NFL rushing yards with 13,259. He went over 1,000 yards eight times and made six Pro Bowls.
He’s in the NFL Hall of Fame, but never won the NFL MVP. In 1984, he was beat out for the award by a hotshot rookie QB named Dan Marino who threw for over 5,000 yards.