Henry Ellard could very easily be the best NFL receiver that most people don’t known about. Having played for the not so popular St. Louis Rams for a majority of his career, followed by a stint with the not so successful Redskins probably didn’t help his name recognition. It is in part because of this lack of recognition that Henry Ellard is currently in the same position as fellow wide receivers Andre Reed and Art Monk, unable to get into the Hall of Fame despite having better statistics than some that have been admitted. All three of these receivers suffer from the same problem, they played in the NFL at the same time as Tim Brown and Jerry Rice. Because Henry Ellard was never the best receiver in the NFL, or arguably not even one of the top three receivers in the NFL, in any year that he played it is hard for Hall of Fame voters to view him as one of the best ever. If Henry Ellard and the likes of Andre Reed or Art Monk were viewed individually, in the context of the entire league instead of in the context of Jerry Rice’s career there are not many people that could realistically deny that these guys belong in the Hall of Fame. Cris Carter for example, was admitted to the Hall of Fame ahead of Henry Ellard primarily because he caught twice as many touchdowns as Ellard but what many people don’t realize is that Henry Ellard had almost the same amount of receiving yards as Cris Carter but did it with almost 300 less receptions. Unlike other receivers, which typically have their best seasons in their twenties when they can still rely on natural athletic ability, Henry Ellard didn’t become a legitimate elite receiver until his late twenties and while other receivers where dealing with and increased physical toll on their bodies that tempered their production Henry Ellard just kept getting better and better.
Wide receiver Henry Ellard was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the second round of the 1983 draft, making the Fresno State alumni only the second wide receiver to be taken in the draft. Ellard’s first five years in the NFL were not as productive as he and the Rams would have wished, though the potential was definitely there. His highest receiving total in his first five year’s in the league came in 1985 when he caught 54 passes for 811 yards and 5 scores. The year before Henry Ellard had been sent to the Pro Bowl after a rather mediocre sophomore season that saw him catch only 32 passes for 622 yards and 6 touchdowns. Ellard made a total of three trips to the Pro Bowl in his career, all of which came during his first seven years in the NFL. Ellards’s next two Pro Bowl appearances would coincide with his first two 1,000 yard receiving seasons in 1988 and 1989. It was in 1988 that Ellard had the best year of his career, snagging 86 passes for 1,414 yards and ten touchdowns, setting career highs in each category that would never be surpassed. The following year Ellard had another highly productive year, tallying 1,382 receiving yards and 8 scores on just 70 receptions.
Henry Ellard would top 1,000 receiving yards for the Rams in the following two years as well, resulting in 4 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, but each time he would fail to make the Pro Bowl. In 1992 and 1993 Ellard had a drop in production,averaging around 55 catches and 800 yards, that would ultimatley see him part ways with the Rams and join the Washington Redskins. In his first year with the Redskins Ellard put up the second best statistical season of his career with 1,397 yards and 5 scores on 74 receptions. Despite his performance in 1994 Henry Ellard was once again snubbed when it came to Pro Bowl voting. Over the next two years Henry Ellard continued to show his worth as an elite receiver, surpassing