Former Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey pops up in illustrious list of draft picks

• Jalen Ramsey was the only (former) Jaguars player who made the list of the best draft picks since 2015.
Dec 4, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars weren't great at identifying talent in the draft when Dave Caldwell was their general manager. However, they hit it out of the ballpark when they selected Jalen Ramsey fifth overall in 2016. The former Florida State Seminole went on to become one of the most dominant cornerbacks in the NFL. He's still going strong going strong into 2024, which is why he cracked Pro Football Focus' list of top draft picks at each slot since 2015.

Trevor Sikkema of PFF put together an All-Decade draft team and chose Ramsey for pick No. 5, noting that he picked him over star receiver Ja'Marr Chase (5th overall in 2021) because of his longevity. Sikemma goes on to say that Ramsey had success right off the bat and has played at a high level at different stops.

"This one was extremely difficult, but Jalen Ramsey edges out Ja’Marr Chase due to longevity.

Ramsey came into the league as one of the most talented players in the 2016 class. He was very solid as a rookie, and he quickly made the jump to elite in his second season. His PFF coverage grades have been less stable than Chase’s, but that is the nature of playing cornerback — you’re naturally going to fail more than other positions.

Chase is still a fair choice here, but Ramsey has played at such a high level for multiple defensive coordinators.

Others considered: WR Ja’Marr Chase (2021), QB Tua Tagovailoa (2020)"

Ramsey was an integral piece of the Jaguars' team that made it to the 2017 AFC Championship game. After earning two Pro Bowl selections and one First-Team All-Pro designation, he felt like he deserved to get a contract that made him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the league. However, Dave Caldwell wasn't particularly interested in giving it to him.

This led to a tumultuous relationship between Ramsey and the team's brass by 2019. He made it clear before the regular season began that he wanted out and started to miss games with injuries. The Jaguars ultimately got fed up and traded him to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for two first-round selections and a fourth-rounder.

What happened next after the Jaguars traded Jalen Ramsey?

Jalen Ramsey went on to win a Super Bowl with the Rams. He was traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2023. The Tennessee native has made the Pro Bowl each of the last five seasons since leaving the Jags. Similarly, he got First-Team All-Pro honors twice, so you could make the case that he's done good for himself. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the Jaguars.

They selected * checks notes * outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson with the first of the first-round picks they got in the trade. Chaisson had a measly five sacks during his four-year stint in Jacksonville. Moreover, Ramsey's replacement, C.J. Henderson, only lasted 10 games with the Jags before he was shipped to the Carolina Panthers in 2021. With the fourth-rounder, they picked UAB's Jordan Smith, who played a total of 21 defensive snaps in Duval.

Granted, the Jaguars drafted running back Travis Etienne with the second of the first-round picks they got in exchange for Ramsey. That said, it took them a while to find stability at corner, and none of the players they've acquired were as dominant as he was.

It's hard to tell how things would've played out if the Jaguars hadn't traded Jalen Ramsey. One thing is certain, they would at least have one of the premier cornerbacks in the league.

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