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5 On Your Side Countdown: Ranking the 16 best pro football players in St. Louis history

From the Big Red to the Greatest Show on Turf, we've seen our share of all-time greats. But who's the best? Let's debate

ST. LOUIS — We're doing some serious ranking here at 5 On Your Side.

The past two weeks, we tackled the Blues all-time top 10 and the 15 best basketball players to come from St. Louis. 

This week, we take on a new sport. We're counting down the top 16 St. Louis pro football players in the history of St. Louis (Cardinals and Rams).

5 On Your Side sports director Frank Cusumano has been presenting the list all week long in his sportscasts, with the final reveal coming on Friday night.

From the Big Red of the 70s to the Greatest Show on Turf of the early 2000s we've got it covered.

Here's our list. Let the debate begin.

Watch: The best St. Louis pro football players of all-time

16. London Fletcher

If he would have been in St. Louis more than four years he'd probably be higher. But he was still a world champion here with the 1999-2000 Rams.

Fletcher is probably bound for Canton some day, never missing a game and amassing more than 2,000 tackles.

Credit: AP
St. Louis Rams London Fletcher basks in the glory of thousands of fans as they cheer the Super Bowl Champions during their parade Monday evening, Jan. 31, 2000, in downtown St. Louis. (AP Photo/Leon Algee)

15. Steven Jackson

A great running back on some of the worst teams in St. Louis history.

He had eight straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. And in 2006, he ran for 1,500 yards and also caught 90 passes.

Credit: AP
St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson celebrates his third-quarter touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks by tossing the ball as if he were shooting dice Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005, in St. Louis. Seattle won 37-31. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

14. Terry Metcalf

One of the most exciting players in St. Louis Cardinals football history.

Think of Marshall Faulk but also returning kicks and punts.

In a 14-game season, he set an NFL record with 2,462 combined yards.

13. O.J. Anderson

Other than Kurt Warner, nobody exploded onto the St. Louis football scene faster than Anderson. He had 193 yards in his first game against the Cowboys.

In his first full five seasons, he went over 1,000 yards rushing. And ended up with 10,000 total yards and two Super Bowl wins.

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ottis Anderson, (32) St. Cardinals against the PG Steelers in action on Sept. 16, 1979. (AP Photo)

12. Roy Green

He started as a defensive back and ended up as one of the biggest deep threats of the 1980s in the NFL.

Nicknamed "Jet Stream" because he flew past defensive backs.

11. Mel Gray

Frank's favorite football Cardinal ever and perhaps the fastest player to ever play in St. Louis.

He averaged 19 yards a catch for his career.

10. Torry Holt

"Big Game" is the only receiver ever to have six straight 1,300-yard receiving seasons.

He's still waiting for the call to the hall of fame. He should get there some day.

Credit: AP
St. Louis Rams' Torry Holt celebrates his touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 14. 2008, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

9. Jim Hart

Hart was a four-time pro bowler and league MVP who had the strongest arm of any St. Louis quarterback.

Tom Brady is the only quarterback to play with one team longer than Hart's 18 years with the Big Red.

Credit: AP
Jim Hart of the St. Louis football Cardinals is pictured in 1974. (AP Photo)

8. Roger Wehrli

The Mizzou grad played in seven pro bowls, the all-decade team of the 70s and was inducted into the hall of fame.

The practically perfect cornerback.

Credit: AP
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lance Rentzel (19) is left empty handed in the end zone just before the half, as St. Louis Cornerback Roger Wehrli pulls in a pass intended for Rentzel and a Dallas score, Nov. 17, 1970, Dallas, Tex. The Cardinals continued to blank the Cowboys and won, 38-0. The rest of the players are unidentified. (AP Photo/Ferd Kaufman)

7. Dan Dierdorf

Don't let his incredible broadcasting career take away from his hall of fame playing career.

For a stretch of two entire seasons, he didn't allow a single sack.

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
St. Louis Cardinals football tackle Dan Dierdorf can’t make David Green’s baseball helmet fit while he plays catch at the baseball Cardinal’s Busch Field spring training camp in St. Petersburg, Fla., March 7, 1982. Dierdorf dropped in on the rain shortened practice just to say hello. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine)

6. Jackie Smith

The third tight end elected to the hall of fame and one of the hardest players to tackle in NFL history.

The first truly great athlete to play the position.

Credit: AP
St. Louis end Jackie Smith gathers in a 19-yard pass from quarterback Buddy Humphrey in the first quarter of the Cardinal-Washington Redskins game in St. Louis on Oct. 24, 1965. Paul Krause (26) moves in on the play for the Redskins, who won their first game of the National Football League season, 24-20. (AP Photo)

5. Orlando Pace

The overall first pick in the draft exceeded expectations all the way to the hall of fame.

Nobody 6 foot 7, 325 pounds could move like Orlando Pace.

Credit: AP
Former NFL player Orlando Pace delivers his speech during inductions at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, in Canton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

4. Isaac Bruce

Fifteen-thousand yards, 1,000 receptions and 91 touchdowns for the newest hall of famer.

"Reverend Ike" also scored the biggest touchdowns in St. Louis history.

Credit: AP
St. Louis Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce (80) reaches to fend off Dallas Cowboys safety Roy Williams (31) and Dallas Cowboys safety Ken Hamlin (26) in the second quarter of their NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007, in Irving Texas. (AP Photo/L.M. Otero)

3. Larry Wilson

Made the all-decade team in the 60s and 70s, the 70th anniversary all-time team and the 100th anniversary all-time team.

The hall of famer is one of the best safeties to ever play football.

Credit: AP
St. Louis Cardinals defensive back Larry Wilson and his wife Dee seem humble and amazed as they are presented with more than $12,000 in gifts from their fans, Dec. 17, 1966. Wilson was runner-up to Bart Starr as the NFL's Most Valuable Player this season. It was Larry Wilson Day at Busch Memorial Stadium as the Cardinals prepared to meet the Cleveland Browns. Announcer is unidentified. (AP Photo/Fred Waters)

2. Kurt Warner

Warner could certainly be number one on this list.

Two MVP awards, the town's only Super Bowl win and one of the greatest stories in the history of sports put him among the all-time greats.

We all wish it could've lasted longer in St. Louis, but Warner was able to channel some magic for our town's other former team out in the desert in the twilight of his career.

Credit: AP
St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner smiles while posing with the Pete Roselle, left, and Vince Lombardi trophies at Rams Park in St. Louis, Thursday, April 27, 2000. The Rams open their minicamp Friday. (AP Photo/James A. Finley)

1. Marshall Faulk

The Marshall Faulk trade with the Colts is the equivalent of the baseball Cardinals' legendary Brock for Broglio swap.

There is no Greatest Show on Turf without Marshall Faulk.

The only back to ever rush for 12,000 with 6,000 receiving yards.

Credit: AP
**FILE** St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk (28) catches a pass for a 52-yard gain as teammate Leonard Little (57) cheers him on from the sideline in the first quarter during the Super Bowl XXXIV football game in Atlanta,in this Jan. 30, 2000 file photo. After sitting out last season because of a knee injury, Faulk officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday, March 26, 2007. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

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