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Player Spotlight: Jalen Ramsey

A detailed look at Jalen Ramsey's fantasy prospects for 2016.

JALEN A JAGUAR

Like Deion Sanders before him, Jalen Ramsey is hoping to emerge from Florida State University to have a Hall of Fame career in the NFL. A player whom many thought worthy of the first overall selection, he was selected at pick number five of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Also like Sanders, Ramsey started in his freshman year, a rarity in college football. In his junior year at FSU, Ramsey had 37 solo tackles, 15 assists, nine passes defended, one sack, and one fumble recovery. Ramsey played both safety spots and corner throughout his time at the university.  While in college, he also won ACC indoor and outdoor long jump titles.

RAMSEY REIGNS

Ramsey is tall and has long arms, both assets for one aspiring to play in an NFL secondary. He’s a great athlete with speed, agility, wiggle, closing burst, and a terrific vertical jump. He’s especially good at playing a press style, but has also spent time playing zone. Additionally, he has the ability to cover quicker slot receivers. He’s also got a knack for disrupting passes and ripping the ball away from a would-be receiving target.

Ramsey should start from game one on. He will benefit from being opposite of Prince Amukamara, at whom competent passers will be hesitant to throw. He should get a statistical boost from the opportunities generated by quarterbacks trying to pick on him as a rookie.

JALEN JUST A GUY?

An elite prospect, there is very little for which to nitpick Ramsey. His functional strength is a bit lacking, but scouts believe he still has room to add to his frame and improve that aspect of his game. Ramsey is also not a “ballhawk,” having dropped many potential interceptions throughout his college career.

Not unlike Myles Jack, whom the Jaguars selected in the second round, Ramsey has some health concerns. Not long after the draft, he had a small tear to his meniscus that occurred in a team workout. He underwent a surgical procedure to clip the meniscus so that he could return to action sooner. Shortly thereafter, Andrea Adelson reported in her ESPN column that Ramsey had undergone a microfracture procedure as a teenager. The biggest concern with Ramsey is how his right knee will hold up over time.

POSITIVES

  • Ramsey has the skillset to become an elite NFL corner.

  • He will be the day one starter opposite a competent corner in Prince Amukamara.

  • Ramsey will benefit from being targeted as a rookie corner in year one.

NEGATIVES

  • He needs to add more muscle to his frame to improve his core strength.

  • Ramsey needs to get better at not dropping balls to come down with the interception.

  • The health of his knee remains a major wildcard for his NFL career.

FINAL THOUGHTS

In standard IDP leagues, defensive back production is less scarce than any other position, a subject covered in this article. Ramsey is currently going in the late-third or early-fourth rounds of mixed rookie drafts. This is fair market value. Ramsey’s stock is slightly bumped up from this price point if you play in a CB required league. Take him in the early-third if you play in this format.

2016 PROJECTIONS

JOHN NORTON'S PROJECTIONS

G

TKL

AST

SCK

FF

FR

PD

INT

TD

FPT

16

53

8

0

1

0

17

2

0

124.00

AARON RUDNICKI'S PROJECTIONS

G

TKL

AST

SCK

FF

FR

PD

INT

TD

FPT

16

48

8

0

1

1

15

2

0

113.50

OTHER VIEWPOINTS

Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar had some very complimentary things to say of Ramsey in his scouting report:

He plays like a cornerback, thinks like a safety, hits like a linebacker. That’s why I think he’s the best player in this draft class—he plays multiple positions at a very high level, and those positions are among the most important in the game. This isn’t a safety who can play box once in a while and move to the slot against slower receivers. This isn’t an outside cornerback who can hold his own in the slot once in a while. This is a starter-quality player at three distinct defensive positions right now. Perhaps the most exciting thing about Ramsey’s potential is what he’ll look like when he has more experience at cornerback and an NFL coaching staff to take him through his paces. The comparison below may seem like a stretch to some, especially given Woodson’s interception totals at Michigan, but if that offends you, Tyrann Mathieu is a pretty good comp as well. Either way, the team that selects Jalen Ramsey gets an elite interchangeable safety, a great slot defender and a potential shutdown cornerback, all in the same guy.

The Tennessean’s John Glennon reported in his column that former player and coach Louis Riddick expressed the following concerns with Ramsey:

‘He’s shown the ability to play good football at all three of those positions, but he hasn’t been able to master any of them,’ Riddick said. ‘He’s also shown some deficiencies at them. When you’re talking about what he projects best to and what expectations you have for him going forward in the NFL … when you’re talking about this guy in the context of a first or second overall pick, there’s a lot of uncertainty with what you’re going to get from this player at the NFL level.’