The Rams have the chance to select the 31st overall player in the NFL Draft for the 10th time in franchise history on Thursday night.
Dating back to 1938, the Rams have picked at No. 31 nine times — but it hasn’t always been a first-round selection. When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office, the Rams took tackle Ed Franco at No. 31 in the fifth round. The club most recently picked linebacker Robert Thomas on the edge of the first-round in 2002.
Barring no draft day trade, one NFL hopeful on the Rams’ radar will join the 31s in the books — a group that’s played six different position, from eight different universities, drafted over the span of 81 years.
Here’s a look at each No. 31:
T Ed Franco, 1938 Fifth round, Fordham
Franco played only briefly as a Cleveland Ram, before leaving professional football for a stint leading the University of Fordham University Rams to back-to-back bowl appearances in 1941 and 1942 as a head coach. Franco later revived his pro career with the Boston Yanks in 1944 and then moved to a career in coaching and scouting in professional football, working with personal friend and legendary Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. Franco is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
FB Larry Hickman, 1959 Third round, Baylor
Hickman was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams out of Baylor University, but never played a snap in Southern California. The Rams traded Hickman to the Chicago Cardinals ahead of the 1959 season, he then went on to play 24 games stateside, before a brief run in the Canadian football league.
DT John Meyers, 1962 Third round, Washington
Three years later, the Rams drafted defensive tackle John Meyers out of the University of Washington — but so did the AFL’s Oakland Raiders. Like Hickman, Meyers never lined up in a game of consequence with the Rams. He was immediately dealt away from Oakland to the Dallas Cowboys.
T John Mims, 1964 Third round, Rice
Mims became the second Texan drafted by the Rams at No. 31 and the third-consecutive to never play a snap for the club. The young tackle was also selected by the Denver Broncos at No. 65, ahead of the merger.
RB Cullen Bryant, 1973 Second round, Colorado
Bryant played 11 seasons as a return specialist and running back in L.A. from 1973 to 1982, and again in 1987 after two seasons with the Seahawks. Bryant’s career season came in 1980, when he picked up 807 yards and three touchdowns rushing, along with 386 yards and three touchdowns receiving. Bryant scored the Rams’ opening touchdown of Super Bowl XIV.
DB Nolan Cromwell, 1977 Second round, Kansas
Arguably the best of all the No. 31 selections, Cromwell became a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro as a Los Angeles Ram. Cromwell’s 37 career interceptions rank No. 2 in the club’s all-time list. The former Jayhawk spent each of his 11 pro seasons with the Rams.
LB Roman Phifer, 1991 Second round, UCLA
Phifer racked up 696 tackles, 16.5 sacks, and seven interceptions in the middle of the Rams defense from 1991 to 1998. He went on to win three World Championships in four seasons with the Patriots at the turn of the millenium, and picked up six tackles in a win over the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
RB Trung Canidate, 2000 First round, Arizona
The Rams drafted Canidate with their first-round selection a year after adding Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk in 1999. Canidate started in just three games in three seasons in St. Louis — he took 78 careers for 441 yards and six touchdowns in 2001.
LB Robert Thomas, 2002 First round, UCLA
Thomas played in 42 games over three seasons with the Rams at middle linebacker from 2002 to 2004. After his run in the Rams defense, Thomas spent a season in Green Bay, before rounding out his career with three years in the Bay as an Oakland Raider.