Teams who are in need of a difference maker back in the secondary lucked out this year with two elite athletes atop the board in that department. Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey and Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves III will be compared all throughout the draft process. On most boards, you’ll see VHIII a few spots higher than Ramsey, but I’m not buying that.
Name: Jalen Ramsey
College: Florida State
Projection: Top 10
Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu
- Superb athlete
- Man coverage
- Disruptive blitzer
- Reading QB
- Special teams contributor
- Raw prospect
- Run support
I absolutely love the ceiling of Jalen Ramsey, he has the potential to be a top 5 defensive back in the NFL. It all starts with his athleticism. Ramsey is a superb athlete who was a track star at Florida State as well as an All American. His combination of athleticism and size make him a special prospect.
Not only does Ramsey have the height/weight/speed component to his game, but he is a very intelligent player as well. Even though he is still quite raw, I love what I’ve seen from Ramsey in man coverage. He can go step-for-step with the quickest receivers, and he does a good job on the outside as well and forcing WRs to the sideline while not letting them get the inside angle. Some say he needs more polishing on his technique, which he does, but he’ll be just fine in that aspect. Ramsey uses his length to his advantage and shows good patience as well.
I love the way Florida State has given Ramsey almost a “freelance” role in that secondary. That allows him to play to his strength, he can do it all. He especially excels as a blitzer coming from anywhere on the field whether it’s from the line of scrimmage, the edge or the secondary. Ramsey possesses tremendous awareness that allows him to be disruptive in the backfield when pursuing the QB even if he knows he won’t come away with a sack – he is quick to leap and bat the ball down.
Along with his physical tools, Ramsey’s versatility is another trait that makes him so special. I love the Tyrann Matieu comparison for that reason alone, although Ramsey is just a bigger version. Like Mathieu, I can see Ramsey playing a similar role in the NFL. The Cardinals allow Mathieu to do his thing back in the secondary whether he’s lining up in the slot, on the outside or in the safety position which is what I expect from Ramsey no matter where he’s drafted. Ramsey can play any position in the secondary and he has returned kicks for Florida State and has also played in kick coverage – completing the total package.
You’ll rarely see Ramsey make an impact in run defense. He is a poor tackler and struggles disengaging blocks – lacks the strength to compete up front with bigger blockers. Ramsey is still quite raw as well, so he may not make an immediate impact like some will expect, but I fully anticipate him to be at the top of his game by his second or third season in the NFL.