Jalen Ramsey’s name has been bandied about for a while in relation to the Jacksonville Jaguars at the fifth overall selection, but with the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine wrapping up, it’s time to declare that he’d be an excellent fit for the Jags at free safety.
When a player is compared favorably to the future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, you know that he’s worth adding to your team.
That is the case for Jalen Ramsey, the defensive back coming out of Florida State. Just like Woodson, Ramsey appears capable to play both safety and cornerback at the NFL level, though he may be suited more toward the former than the latter.
In Bucky Brooks’ latest breakdown of the defensive back prospects, he noted the concern that some (undefined) scouts had over Ramsey playing corner at the next level. His ability to play on an island as a corner is the primary concern, which may suggest a shift into the nickel role or to safety.
Fortunately for the Jacksonville Jaguars, there is need at both positions.
If the Jags cannot snag a free safety in free agency, they will be forced to find a player in the 2016 NFL Draft and there is no higher rater player than Ramsey. Ramsey’s transition to the safety position would enable him to best use his instincts and ball hawking ability to make plays – something the Jags desperately need from their secondary.
Also importantly, the Jaguars need a player who is more naturally suited to the role. Ramsey’s time playing both safety and corner will allow him to transition more seamlessly than even 2015 fourth round pick James Sample’s movement from strong safety to free safety. Sample has an ambiguous role on the Jags offense and his development was hindered by injury. If the Jags select Ramsey, then Sample will be decidedly pushed down the depth chart where he may be able to develop more into a utility player.
Ramsey checks all of the boxes for the Jaguars, providing the desired length, instincts, past production, and athleticism that head coach Gus Bradley needs at the position but has struggled to find.
The real question in the Jalen Ramsey-Jacksonville Jaguars marriage is whether he will be available at fifth overall. The combine has really helped Ramsey remain almost head shoulders above his defensive back peers and there are four teams ahead of the Jags in the draft who could all benefit from his addition to the team.
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Maybe with a little luck and timing, the Jags could end up with a player that fills a need and is decidedly the best at his position. It would go a long way to getting the Jags a few more wins.