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The top overall player in the 2016 NFL draft class, Jalen Ramsey is a rare athlete and a top-tier competitor. An alpha dog in the FSU locker room, Ramsey has owned a leadership position since his first days in Tallahassee as a true freshman in a defensive back room with future NFL players Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams.
A versatile defender at FSU, Ramsey has played safety, the STAR position (like a nickel cornerback) and outside corner. He has the athletic profile to slide in at any of those three positions and hold his own against NFL talent. Ramsey may be the perfect answer to the NFL’s matchup problem, as he can make plays anywhere on the field and could be an eraser against receivers or tight ends—like a 6’1” Tyrann Mathieu.
Ramsey has elite speed and size and is able to run with anyone down the field. He’s also explosive enough to break on passes underneath and separate the receiver from the ball. With a 41.5-inch vertical jump, Ramsey is also excellent when going up to challenge the ball. His lateral movements are smooth and strong, and he brings a downhill punch like a safety with his 200-plus pounds.
I asked a quarterback Ramsey played against in college what he thought of him. His reply: “Weapon of mass destruction. You have to know where he is at all times.”
When asked how you scheme against him, the quarterback said they simply avoided him instead of finding ways to attack his side of the field.
NFL teams won’t avoid Ramsey, but quarterbacks must know where he is on every down. With his size, speed, instincts and playmaking skill set, Ramsey is a surefire top-10 pick and a future Pro Bowler.
Ramsey isn’t without some question marks. He’s never played consistently at one position, and the lack of a true home may worry scouts and coaches.
Ball skills will get questioned because Ramsey only recorded three interceptions in three seasons. It should be noted that his role at FSU in his first two seasons didn’t lend itself to many one-on-one situations for picks, and by 2015, teams were avoiding him.
The biggest obstacle for Ramsey will be learning one position. If the Jaguars won’t let him create on his own, he could be a square peg in a round hole.
Weight: 209 lbs.
40 Time: 4.41s
Short Shuttle: 4.18s
PRO COMPARISON: Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders (retired)
FINAL GRADE: 7.99/9.00 (Round 1—Pro Bowl Potential)