Sixth Round: 191st Pick
Because of a rather deep safety class this year, some of the lesser-known prospects are flying a bit under the radar, including Georgia's Bacarri Rambo. Rambo is one of the better stories of this year's draft as a former scout-team member, often mimicking the opposing quarterback.
Does the appropriately named Rambo have the skill set that could get him drafted much earlier than most would anticipate?
+ Reads and reacts to quarterbacks' eyes in deep coverage
+ Excellent ball skills
+ Good range and timing on hits
+ Able to deliver big hits
- Takes poor angles in run game
- Difficulty controlling speed
- Stiff hips, slow backpedal
- Not a good form tackler
Rambo looks the part, having good proportional size at 6'0" 210 pounds to go along with his somewhat average length (31" arms).
While a bit stiff in the hips, he still has good overall athleticism and speed for the position and is able to explode when breaking on the ball. However, he does not have cornerback speed, running a 4.59 at his recent pro day.
Overall, Rambo does not have any unique athletic traits, but he has all of the makings of a starting NFL free safety.
Rambo's history of failed drug tests will cost him on draft day. He (along with other teammates) were suspended multiple games for failing a drug test last season:
Even worse (in the eyes of NFL evaluators), he tried to make an excuse for it by claiming he ate pot-laced brownies. He was undoubtedly grilled about the event in the interview process, and it may cost him a lot of money on draft day.
Rambo was used in deep coverage more than anything else, but he loved to come up into the box and make big hits in the run game. He was not used in man-to-man coverage often, but he does have some experience there.
Playing the Ball
While his senior-season interception totals took a dip form his eight-interception junior season (three picks as a senior), he did miss time from a suspension and still showed terrific ball skills.
Rambo is impressive when tracking the ball in the air, often making interceptions with his back turned, just as is shown in this play when he tracks a deep ball to make a catch like a wide receiver:
Notice how Rambo plays the ball, not the receiver, avoiding contact down the field. Despite his somewhat average length, he times his jumps well. More often than not, if he can get two hands on it, he is going to get the interception.
Against the Run
Rambo can be a devastating hitter when he takes the proper angle, but he is a bit too inconsistent in how he takes his angles, squares up and brings down the ball carrier.
Here, Rambo takes a bad angle, evidenced by how he is changing direction mid-step. His balance is off, and he takes more time to get to the ball carrier.
Rambo also tends to build up too much speed trying to go for a big hit, and offensive players can maneuver around him easily. This is evidenced in this play, as Rambo comes screaming down the field, only to be side-stepped because his momentum threw off his balance.
However, when he does line up his hit properly, he can be a violent hitter that can alter the way a game is played. He has good closing speed that can prevent a ball carrier from getting far—as long as he lines up his hit properly.
While he rarely was asked to play in man coverage his senior season, Rambo is aggressive up at the line of scrimmage and is not afraid to challenge a receiver. However, he does not possess a great backpedal and has stiff hips, limiting his ability to turn and run with receivers. He is also a bit high in his stance, and needs to drop his hips.
While his size is not a detriment to his game, at 6'0", it would be a mistake to try and match him up with some of the bigger tight ends in the NFL.
Rambo played in a lot of single-high looks at Georgia, where he excelled in reading the quarterback's eyes and reacting to what he was seeing, evidenced by this pass breakup in the SEC championship game.
Rambo drops into coverage, while the receiver runs a deep out. Based on the coverage, this route is set up to beat the hole in the zone.
Rambo reads the play and explodes out of his break. Notice how much distance he has to cover in relation to the receiver.
Bacarri arrives just in time (but not too soon to draw interference) and delivers a blow to separate the ball from the receiver. Additionally, he leans with his shoulder, not his head.
This play exemplifies all of of Rambo's biggest strengths in reading the quarterback, breaking on the ball, using his range and delivering a blow to break up the play.
This aspect is a bit of a mixed bag with Rambo. When he sees his target and takes a proper angle, he is capable of delivering game-changing hits.
However, he has a tendency to lunge at ball carriers, which is usually a result of him not being able to control his speed and losing his balance. When bigger, more physical backs challenge him, he tends to "catch" them as they fall forward.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Rambo would be best used as a Cover-1 safety, roaming in center field reading the quarterback— similar to a role LaRon Landry played with the Jets last season. His man coverage skills and experience are a bit limited.
The further away Bacarri Rambo is from the line of scrimmage, the more a team will be able to use his strengths and hide his weaknesses. Not only can he read the quarterback, but it will be easier for him to take angles with more room to adjust.