Los Angeles Rams’ Mount Rushmore: All Defense? NFL Films Makes Strong Case for Dominant Top 4

Credit: Detroit Free Press

The Los Angeles Rams have had a long and storied history in the NFL, with four championships, including two Super Bowls and 18 Hall of Famers (at least one more to come) to their credit. The debate about whose faces would don the legendary Mount Rushmore will rage forever.

But a new NFL Films exploration of the topic makes a good case for four Rams defenders to take the place of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. They picked Donald, Olsen, Jones, and Youngblood. Let’s take a look at their case* and their honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut.

Los Angeles Rams Mount Rushmore

Aaron Donald, DT

NFL: NFC Championship-San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

10 Years of excellence. Aaron Donald’s decade in the NFL was about as good as it gets. A pro bowler in every season he played, AD would win Defensive Player of the Year three times. His 111 career sacks are officially the most in team history. He was at the top of his game with a league-high 20.5 in 2018 as LA won an NFC crown.

Finally, he led the Rams to the ultimate prize in 2021, sealing the deal in Super Bowl LVI.

Merlin Olsen, DT

USA TODAY Sports
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Whether he’s a left or a right guard. If he pulls the trap. It’s not gonna work. Either way, you run into Merlin Olsen and he’s huge.

From one elite defensive tackle to another Merlin Olsen was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his 1st 14 seasons. That’s mind-blowing. LA finished with a top 10 total defense 13 times during Olsen’s 15-year career. The Iron Man only missed two games. And that wasn’t his first season. He suited up for 208 of them as the anchor of the Rams’ fearsome foursome.

Deacon Jones, DE

Los Angeles Rams DE
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

At one time, he had a challenge race for anyone on the team. Any amount of money they wanted to bet. 50-yard dash. And he was never beaten.

If Olson was the anchor, Deacon Jones was the star of that stand-out front four. He played 11 seasons with the Rams and notched close to 160 sacks. Unofficially, of course. Jones was 14 round steal for LA, who landed arguably the greatest pass rusher to ever live. He made seven straight Pro Bowls from 1964 to 1970 with five all pro selections in that stretch as well.

Jack Youngblood, DE

USA TODAY Sports
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate tough guy, Jack Youngblood went through most of the 1979 playoffs with a broken leg. Nothing stopped him from taking the field as he started a franchise record 201 straight games in his 14-year NFL career. Youngblood joined the tail end of that Fearsome Foursome unit and went on to make five All-Pro teams from 1974 to 1979. He’s unofficially credited with over 150 career sacks.

Los Angeles Rams Honorable Mention

An extraordinary number of stars have come through the franchise and Jackie Slater can say he’s played more games than any of them. The first-ballot Hall of Famer played 20 years at tackle, including 18 postseason games.

Isaac Bruce retired with the second-most receiving yards in NFL history.

Kurt Warner won two MVPS in a three year span.

Orlando Pace protected the blind side for 12 seasons in St. Louis, making seven Pro Bowls.

One of the most versatile backs we’ve ever seen. Marshall Faulk won Offensive Player of the Year three times

Nobody has topped Eric Dickerson‘s single-season rushing record in 40 years.

Quarterbacks Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Broklin each led the Rams to NFL championships in the forties and fifties.

Those great teams could chuck it down the field, thanks to Hall of Famer Elroy Hirsch, the 1951 NFL receiving Triple Crown winner.

*Player specific text was transcribed via NFL.com