As you should know by now, our attention has now shifted to the 2016 NFL Draft as it relates to the prospects. From now until the draft takes place, we hope to profile as many draft prospects as we possibly can for you. Most of these player profiles will be centered around prospects the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have interest in.
One of the top prospects in the entire draft. A profile of Florida State corner Jalen Ramsey.
#8 Jalen Ramsey/CB Florida St: 6’1 202
– Rare combination of build/speed/fluidity
– Smooth transition flipping his hips in press man
– Ability to click/close downhill, powerful break step to drive off of and get on top of the receiver
– Active participant in the run game, wraps up and finishes with a purpose, difficult player to shed
– Understands purpose and run fits, isn’t out of position
– Works off stalk blocks well, isn’t passive, and rarely stuck, looks to shed in a violent nature
– Plays the pocket well, attacks the football and will compete at catch points
– Special teams value in return and coverage unit, continued to play on coverage unit even in 2015
– Remarkable job of getting back in-phase and to the hip of the receiver when beat or bites on a route
– Versatile player who has experience in man/zone, off coverage, in the box, blitzing, and special teams work
– Durable, no injuries to note
– Lots of starting experience
– Perhaps a little tall in his backpedal
– Occasionally will gamble and stick his eyes in the backfield against man coverage
– Has a little trouble finding the football vertically in man
– Some debate over his best position in the NFL, possible move to safety
– Saw nearly all his time as the boundary corner, will have to get used to playing with space on the field if asked at the NFL level
– Interception numbers are not gaudy but partial product of teams not throwing at him a ton in contested situations, but must finish plays and take advantage of chances he gets
– 41 career starts over 3 years
– 11 starts at safety in 2013
– Underclassman, true junior who declared early
– No interceptions in 2015, 3 in career
– Part of school’s track and field team all three years, in long jump and part of 4×1000 relay
– Five star prospect out of high school, originally committed to USC and choose FSU over Florida, Oregon, Alabama
Sometimes, you don’t have to look too hard to diagnose a prospect. Ramsay has it all. The build, the physicality, the fluidity, every baseline quality that you want in the position. There may be some small deficiencies in his game but it’s completely overshadowed by the rock-star qualities.
You know I start almost every report with a corner’s run defense. And Ramsay has it all. He makes every tackle like it’s his last and I love the way he finishes. Wrap, drive, and put the player into the dirt.
He’ll beat up on receivers, one-arming this receiver into his own sideline. Oof.
But he understands his place in run fits, too, serving as the perimeter force player, keeping the back inside, shedding the block, and making the open field tackle. This play has everything from him.
Though he is occasionally beat in coverage, I dig the way he’s able to get back in-phase so quickly. Recovery speed is top notch. Double-move from the receiver at the bottom and gets the initial step on Ramsey. But he quickly flips, gets back to the receiver’s hip, and is right there to contest the vertical shot, though it’s overthrown.
Few cornerbacks are going to look that good when a receiver is actively trying to make them look really bad.
And here we see from Ramsey what I love the most – cornerbacks who play the pocket. Swipes down through the hands and breaks this pass up. Very technically sound.
Like I mentioned, there are occasional blips. He didn’t come away with a pick this year, and it is easy to say he wasn’t targeted, though I saw him picked on against Miami. And in that game, he drops the easiest chance for an interception he probably had all year.
There are certainly no safe prospects in a draft – remember how “safe” Aaron Curry was? – but Ramsey is one of its top talents, and that is as sure as you can be in an inexact process like this. I don’t have much of a preference between corner and safety, a talent like that could do both and has done both. It’s like Byron Jones. Pick him at one, evaluate, go from there.
He’s almost a lock to be the first defensive back off the board and go very early in this year’s draft. Obviously, he’s out of the running for the Steelers, but just hope that the Cleveland Browns at two or the Baltimore Ravens at six don’t snag him. I don’t want to see this guy twice a season.
Projection: Top 5
Games Watched: at Boston College, vs Miami (FL), vs Louisville, vs NC State