3 Teams That Should Trade Up for Jalen Ramsey
I fancy myself to be a bit of an adventurous eater.
Now, I'm not traveling the world and treating myself to spoiled fish or fruit that tastes like rotten onion, but I've tried some interesting things. I've eaten beef tongue (delicious), sweet breads (also delicious), and I tend to load my pho with tendon and tripe (and Sriracha).
So when my brother posted a photo of a "Sushi Burrito" on Facebook, I was immediately intrigued.
See, I definitely don't adhere to the "more is less" mindset. I'm a "more is more" kind of guy, and if someone wants to give me a burrito full of soft shell crab and spicy tuna, well sign me up!
You may not be into weird food combinations like I am, but who doesn't love a special football player who excels in two different aspects of the game? You know, guys like Von Miller, who can get after the quarterback better than anyone in the NFL on one play, but can cover a tight end (or some wide receivers) on the next.
Jalen Ramsey is one of those special players.
Coming out of Florida State, Ramsey is a 6'1", 209-pound defensive back that can play slot or boundary corner. He has excellent press-man coverage abilities, the range to play free safety, and the physicality to stop a running back in his tracks.
Ramsey's my personal favorite prospect in this year's draft class, but take it from an expert like Doug Farrar at si.com:
"Ramsey’s college stats aren’t mind-blowing (122 solo tackles, five sacks, three interceptions, 22 passes defensed and four forced fumbles in three seasons), but they reflect the performance of a top-flight secondary player. The tape tells the whole story: Ramsey comes into the NFL as a legitimate starter right now at several defensive positions. The best way I can describe him to those who haven’t seen him is to imagine if you could go back and draft Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor at the same time ... and combine that talent into the same guy. That’s how good he can be."
Forget the sushi burrito, we're onto a whole new level. Ramsey is the type of dynamic playmaker that offensive coordinators are going to have to game plan for, and that's exactly why there are three teams that should trade up to acquire him.
In most years, a team that wants to move up in the draft to select the most talented player needs to get to the first or second position. That's not the case this year, as we have already seen the Rams and Eagles trade up to acquire the first two overall picks, respectively, and it's a near certainty that those teams will be selecting quarterbacks.
The team that benefits the most from these pre-draft swaps is actually the San Diego Chargers, who find themselves with a franchise quarterback already on the roster, sitting at third overall.
The Chargers could certainly decide to select Ramsey, and it would probably be a good decision. After all, Eric Weddle, a five-time All Pro, left San Diego for Baltimore earlier in the offseason, and Ramsey could slide in and immediately fill that hole in the Chargers defense. But the incentive for the Chargers to trade back is heavy as well -- San Diego has a lot of holes on their roster at this point, and they most likely aren't going to contend in 2016.
So what if the Chargers traded their pick?
To establish a "fair trade" I'll be adhering to Walter Football's NFL Draft Value Chart. Let's take a look at three teams that should be interested.
|San Diego Receives||Jacksonville Receives|
Joey Bosa, a defensive end from Ohio State, may be available when Jacksonville is on the board at the fifth spot on Thursday night. But I can't imagine that they're hoping to draft him.
Jacksonville spent a first-round pick on their defensive line in 2015 when they selected Dante Fowler. This March, when free agency started, the team invested even further in their defensive line when they signed Malik Jackson to a large deal.
While it's not a certainty that Jacksonville is satisfied with their defensive line at this point, spending high first-round draft picks on defensive lineman in consecutive years and paying big money to a free agent defensive lineman doesn't seem prudent.
Another player that may be available when the Jaguars pick is offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Coming from Ole Miss, Tunsil is seen by many as the top prospect in the entire class. However, Tunsil, like Bosa, would be a repetitive selection by the Jaguars, as the team selected Luke Joeckel with the second-overall pick in the 2013 draft.
The Jaguars have a young roster with a budding superstar wide receiver in Allen Robinson, and a quarterback who himself is an early first-round pick in Blake Bortles. In addition to Robinson, Bortles has Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas to throw to. Hurns ranked 15th by numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) metric among wide receivers who saw 100 or more targets in 2015, while Thomas ranked 18th in NEP among tight ends who saw 70 or more targets.
None of this is to say that the Jaguars offense is without holes, but the team has given Blake Bortles a bevy of weapons, and now it's up to him to make the most of them.
Where Jacksonville needs an elite playmaker is in their secondary. The Jaguars ranked 30th in both Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points and Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (overall defense and pass defense, adjusted for strength of schedule) a season ago -- Ramsey is the player that the Jaguars are desperate for on that side of the ball.
Giving up a high second-round pick is certainly a hefty price to pay, and the Jaguars may be able to move up to 1.03 for less than that, but if I am David Caldwell, I'm getting it done.
|San Diego Receives||Cleveland Receives|
The Browns, personnel-wise, are in shambles, and they've spent the majority of this offseason shedding salaries and entering full-on rebuild mode. The good news, though, is that the Browns have 12 draft picks in 2016 alone.
Recent news has the Browns interested in Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, but that would be a horrible pick for the Browns to make for a lot of reasons. Elliott is a talented player and would be a fan favorite given that he's a Buckeye, but in reality, the Browns are a few seasons away from competing, and Elliott is in (or close to) his prime right now. Running backs just aren't good early-round picks.
Duke Johnson, Cleveland's third-round pick in 2015, ranked 38th among running back's with over 100 carries in Rushing NEP per rush last year. While he certainly isn't elite, Johnson is capable of being the primary back -- or one in tandem with Isaiah Crowell -- on a team that's rebuilding. Don't forget that Cleveland elected not to re-sign their starting center, Alex Mack, and right tackle, Mitchell Schwartz, in free agency. Cleveland ranked 21st in Rushing NEP in 2015, and that ranking has little chance of improving, regardless of who they have at running back.
Ramsey fits the Browns well because he would immediately improve a Cleveland defense that ranked 21st in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP. Not to mention that the Browns recently cut their starting strong safety Donte Whitner. In addition, the Browns play in a division with strong quarterback play.
Adding a versatile player like Ramsey to a Browns secondary that needs help will not only be a boon for them in the short term, but over the long term as well. Many NFL running backs reach their prime before 30, while a player like Ramsey may not hit his prime until around the time that he is due for his second contract.
New York Giants
|San Diego Receives||NY Giants Receives|
|Giants 1st Rd Pick in 2017|
The New York Giants are clearly in "win-now" mode after going on a spending spree in free agency. Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison were their biggest signings, along with the retention of their own free agent Jason Pierre-Paul.
The Giants ranked 28th in Adjusted Defensive NEP, 29th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP and 24th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP last year. Their offense, meanwhile, ranked 10th in Adjusted NEP, making it clear that the majority of their problems were on defense.
Myles Jack, the ultra-talented linebacker from UCLA, is a player that has been linked to the Giants, as their defensive issues are well-known. In a vacuum, Jack does look like a perfect fit for the Giants, but Jack's injury history is a major concern. Ian Rapoport wrote this about Jack yesterday:
"The repair of the lateral meniscus that tore off the bone when he suffered the injury in September is not the issue, according to several sources with direct knowledge of Jack's situation. Instead, the cartilage and bone have begun to separate, creating what is referred to by medical professionals as an osteochondral defect. If or when the bone and cartilage fully separate, Jack will need to undergo another procedure and it will keep him out for a prolonged period of time. One possibility is microfracture surgery, though there are other options that teams have discussed."
The Giants would be foolish to spend the 10th-overall pick on a player who has a very high likelihood of missing extended time during his career due to injury. That, however, doesn't change their need for a difference-maker on defense.
Adding Ramsey, a Day 1 starter, immediately improves their defense as a whole, and he comes without the injury concern of Jack.
Giving up a first-round pick is a huge commitment, but there may be no one team more inclined to do it than the 2016 New York Giants. They spent huge money in free agency to fix their defensive line and upgrade one cornerback position. Adding Ramsey could be the final piece to the puzzle.