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Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey brings talent, confidence to NFL Draft


With defensive back Jalen Ramsey rising on the board, Florida State had a chance to become the second school with consecutive No. 1 picks in the NFL draft.

But then the Tennessee Titans, who brought Ramsey in for an interview, traded the top overall selection to the Rams, who will select a quarterback.

Although the Seminoles will not join Southern Cal, the only program to have a player taken first overall in back-to-back years (Ron Yary in 1968 followed by O.J. Simpson), they likely will have a second consecutive top 5 pick. Quarterback Jameis Winston was taken No. 1 in 2015 by the Buccaneers.

And whether Ramsey is taken by the Chargers at No. 3 or falls to Dallas, Jacksonville or even Baltimore, he believes that team will get a player worthy of the top overall pick.

“They are going to get the best player in this draft class,’’ Ramsey told reporters during his Titans visit this month. “They are going to get the hardest worker in this draft class. They are going to get a corner, they are going to get a safety, they are going to get a nickel, and they are going to get a special teams player. They are going to get a leader, they are going to get a guy who gives them longevity.

“They are going to get the total package.”

Not to mention a player exuding confidence.

The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Ramsey is not alone in believing he is the most talented player in this draft. Sports Illustrated is among those that have Ramsey No. 1 on its draft board, saying, “All things being equal, Jalen Ramsey should have had a shot at that first pick this year.”

Ramsey has done nothing but polish his reputation since completing his career at FSU, one in which he started every game during his three years and played cornerback, safety and nickel back.

Ramsey had the top vertical jump (41.5 inches) and long jump (11-feet, 3-inches) at the NFL Combine in February in Indianapolis. Combine that explosiveness with his long arms (33 3/8 inch) and speed (4.41 40 yard dash) and Ramsey is viewed as the prototypical defense back who can cover the big and powerful receivers or play deep in the middle of the field.

“I think he fits today’s league,” ESPN’s Todd McShay said. “I think he can play in the nickel, I think you can play him outside.

“For teams looking for bigger corners, press corners, I think he can develop into a very good one. He can play safety if that’s how you want to use him.”

The one blemish on his résumé is the fact that Ramsey intercepted just three passes in his college career, none last season. And although teams often stayed away from him, there were interception opportunities he dropped.

“I wasn’t tested a lot,” Ramsey said at his Pro Day. “I know I have hands. I did not have as many interceptions as some guys but look at my film, I’m stripping my ball all the time, I’m always around the ball. So I’m a ball hawk.”

McShay, though, believes the lack of interceptions is a real issue.

“If you’re going to spend a pick in the top 3, top 4, it’s hard to swallow if you’re not getting a guy who is going to turn the ball over,” he said.

Ramey’s window appears to be anywhere from No. 3 to No. 6. The Chargers likely will chose between Ramsey and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil of Mississippi.

The Cowboys are next and according to DallasCowboys.com, the team recently was making calls on Ramsey and received a not-to-favorable report on his ability to play cornerback.

If Dallas is scared off by those reports and opts for Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa, Ramsey likely ends up in Jacksonville with the fifth pick or Baltimore with No. 6.

Ramsey’s new employer then just has to figure out where he’s best suited to play.

“Anywhere a team needs me,” Ramsey said. “I would love to play corner but I’m versatile so any team that wants to put me wherever I can play there.”


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