Jalen Ramsey Could Be the Steal of the NFL Draft's First Round
Earlier in the week, Jalen Ramsey was asked which position he hoped to play in the NFL.
His answer was simply “corner.”
It might not completely matter where Ramsey plays on the defense because he has the skills and athletic ability to play either cornerback or safety at a high level. He’s one of the most athletic players in the draft, and the most athletic defensive back in the class per SPARQ. With his mixture of a 6’1”, 209-pound frame and 4.41 40-yard dash time, Ramsey tests out to be in the 99th percentile among NFL cornerbacks athletically.
Take a look at his spider chart from MockDraftable.com, and there’s not a lot left to be desired. He has the size and massive arm length preferred for modern day corners along with the speed and agility to hang with receivers in coverage.
He has the ability to hold tight in man coverage:
The awareness to play wisely in zone:
And can also be an effective blitzer:
There’s not much Ramsey can’t do as a defensive back, which is why many consider him the top overall prospect this year. He should be able to succeed with whatever role he’s asked to play at the NFL level.
If there's a place people can nitpick Ramsey's play, it's for a lack of interceptions. It's not Mackenzie Alexander with zero (also an overblown stat), but Ramsey only had three interceptions in his three years at Florida State. But the reality is he's always around the ball -- as showcased in his two coverage plays above -- and he has the ability to knock the ball away. In 2014, Ramsey was second in the ACC with 12 passes defended, and he was eighth last season with 9. His 22 defended passes are the ninth-most for a career in the ACC since 2005.
Rebuilding the Secondary
The excitement around the Jacksonville Jaguars came from the youth movement on the offensive side of the ball. Blake Bortles was throwing deep passes, while Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns were bringing them in. The Jaguars now have the chance to bring that excitement and youth movement on the defensive side of the ball.
Last season, the Jaguars signed cornerback Davon House from the Green Bay, who's still just 26 years old. However, even with that addition, the Jaguars only ranked 27th in Adjusted Net Expected Points against the pass. Earlier in the offseason, the Jaguars signed Prince Amukamara to play cornerback, who will turn 27 years old until June, and Tashaun Gipson to play safety, who won’t turn 26 until August. Now Jacksonville gets to throw Ramsey in the secondary, which might be the best case scenario with the fifth-overall pick.
Ramsey excels as a press corner, which would probably be his best fit with the Seattle-like system Gus Bradley runs in Jacksonville. This pick could already be one of the biggest steals of the draft and it’s a definite improvement for a rebuilt Jaguars secondary.