3 potential NFL landing spots for Jalen Ramsey
The PFF analysis team recently put out its latest draft board for 2016, this time including the top 100 NFL prospects.
Where do the top prospects fit best? We identified three ideal team fits for each player in the top 10, based on scheme, need and where each prospect is likely to be selected.
Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey has risen to the No. 3 spot on our board, having earned a top-10 grade among all college football cornerbacks in each of the last two seasons (he was No. 2 in 2015) and produced an outstanding workout at the scouting combine.
There is some question as to what position he plays in the NFL, which can make projecting team fits a little difficult. He might not be a prototypical outside corner, but rather someone who can play some on the outside, some at safety and some in the slot – taking advantage of his versatile skill set. Last season he produced positive grades as a pass-rusher in run-defense and in coverage.
Colleague Steve Palazzolo recently compared Ramsey’s NFL potential to what we saw of Charles Woodson during his 2009 Defensive Player of the Year campaign for the Packers. That season Woodson was our top-ranked cornerback, leading in pass-rush grade at the position, producing by far the best run-defense grade and ranking fourth in coverage grade.
Which teams in position to draft Ramsey would fit him best? Here are our top three:
Tennessee Titans: While we have Ohio State DE Joey Bosa and Oregon interior lineman DeForest Buckner ranked higher on our draft board, and Buckner in particular is an ideal fit for Tennessee’s 3-4 base scheme, there’s a strong case to be made that the Titans should select Ramsey with the No. 1 overall pick. The defensive backfield is arguably the team’s biggest need, meaning they could clear a spot for Ramsey anywhere they wanted – outside corner, slot corner or safety.
Dallas Cowboys: Last year the Cowboys drafted UConn defensive back Byron Jones in the first round and used him in a hybrid role, with very good results – Jones earned an impressive 79.8 overall grade and in particularly held up well in coverage. Dallas could draft Ramsey – a more talented version of Jones who graded out considerably higher than Jones did in college – and do the same thing, accomplishing two positive outcomes: 1.) It allows Ramsey more freedom to make plays and shortens his rookie learning curve; 2.) It allows the team to move Jones to cornerback full-time, which is a huge weak spot in their defense.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Our analysts believe that the one area in which you might be worried about Ramsey is if you ask him to play a lot of off-coverage at cornerback – but that wouldn’t be a problem in Gus Bradley’s defense, which helped highlight the talents of big press corners like Richard Sherman while he was in Seattle. That might be the long-term position fit for him in Jacksonville, but in the short term Ramsey would provide immediate help at safety. His presence would allow the Jags to either move John Cyprien (whose 47.6 PFF grade last season was second-worst among all NFL safeties) down into the box, where he’s more comfortable – or off the field entirely.