The Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team because they cannot stay out of the spotlight and that includes the NFL Draft as well. Now that the quarterback question has been resolved by the Rams and Eagles, the question remains who will the Dallas Cowboys take 4th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.
After defensive ends Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence were suspended for four games each in the offseason, the talk has been that Dallas would go after Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa based solely on need. But the fact of the matter is that sounds more like a panic pick for the first quarter of the upcoming season and not a rationalized well thought out choice.
The Cowboys have had problems in the secondary consistently for the past several years (since the 90s if you listen to my buddy and former teammate R.C.) and the Cowboys now hold a high enough draft choice to grab an ultra-elite player in Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey.
Now a little bit about Ramsey first. Starting with his measurables and career numbers.
HEIGHT: 6’1″ WEIGHT: 209LBS, ARM LENGTH: 33 3/8″ HANDS: 9 1/2″
Combine Results. The best performer in vertical and broad jump.
VERTICAL: 41.5” BROAD JUMP: 135.0” 40 YD DASH: 4.41
Started 41 games at both corner and safety, finishing with 180 tackles (15 ½ for loss), 3 interceptions and 23 passes broken up.
Here’s Pro Football Focus, the analytical website, has said about him.
“What he does best:
• Incredibly strong. Can press guys clean off the field. Practically wrecks the screen game to his side of the field. Big, but sometimes looks like he has another 10-15 pounds of strength on him
• Can run with anybody deep down the field playing out on the edge at corner, and that gives him legit range in the middle of the field playing safety
• Has played cornerback, safety, and linebacker in effect at FSU, and shows the ability to be able to do more than one thing at the next level
• Good feel for zones. Can re-direct players and understand where he needs to sink to in order to squeeze windows and force tight throws
• Ability to make big plays and take over games the way Tyrann Mathieu does”
The major stat Pro Football Focus cited was Ramsey allowed only one touchdown playing corner this past season and he was highest graded player overall meaning he is the draft’s top player in their eyes. Hint hint Dallas!
He did have negatives which PFF cited. “Biggest concern:
• Change of direction skills only OK for a corner, may potentially get him in trouble at the next level against quickness.
• Hands only okay, left several big plays on the table this season dropping passes he should have picked off.”
Now Ramsey has stated that he dropped a couple interceptions and the tape backs that up. The man can practice intercepting passes too with Dallas. The bottom line is he’s the first freshman corner to start at FSU since another Cowboys legend. Deion Sanders. I think comparing Sanders to Ramsey is unfair, but it’s impressive that Ramsey has done something that hadn’t been done in 25+ years at FSU. It indicates he’s done special things, but still not a slam dunk.
Here’s what other scouts are saying about Jalen Ramsey. These scouts’ statements came via Bob McGinn’s article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Positives: “Two scouts said he was every bit the prospect that Patrick Peterson was in 2011. ‘He’s the best DB I’ve seen since Peterson,’ said one. ‘Complete player. Only thing I didn’t like is he gets a lot of safety help. You didn’t see him isolated much.’ Third-year junior from Smyrna, Tenn.
‘As a safety he can be all-world – like right now,’ a second scout said. ‘He’s not ready-made like that as a corner but he’s got potential to be all-world there, too. He’s a press-man corner. Using his length. There are some flaws when he’s in off (coverage).’
‘Charles (Woodson) was a ball magnet,’ said a third scout. ‘Ramsey has had very little contact with the ball. People say, ‘Well, they stayed away from him.’ To me, you either have that or you don’t know. With his length (33 3/8-inch arms) and speed he can definitely play outside. As a slot corner against really quality cat-quick receivers, I don’t know. As a safety he’s a wrap, drag-down tackler, not a bona fide big-time striker.’ Led the top CBs in the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test (24), vertical jump (41 ½ inches) and broad jump (11-3).
“‘Look at his career interceptions,’ a fourth scout said. ‘I can count ’em on one hand. Apparently he doesn’t have eyes or feel or vision. I think he’s fool’s gold.’”
Darrell Green was a Hall of Fame cornerback who was terrible at getting interceptions. Granted, he could be an exception to the rule, but I think Ramsey can intercept passes and with work, he’ll only get better at it. He’s got the vision and instincts from what we’ve seen on tape. The scouts are still somewhat split on him.
Well, when scouts aren’t split on players, they are more likely to be universally negative or it’s Andrew Luck. Scouts are going to pick players to death. There’s been questions about Eli Apple because he supposedly can’t cook. The question the Cowboys should be asking is, is Bosa worth more than Ramsey? Is Bosa a real fit after he’s been caught with marijuana and he’s more of a potential player than Ramsey is. Bosa’s ceiling is very high so that’s why scouts give him a high grade, but that means he has to work. Dallas getting secondary help and having a Ramsey become an immediate star at the position could transform the Cowboys.
As for the defensive line, there’s enough depth in those positions that Dallas can easily grab one with it’s second round pick (34th overall).
So, Cowboys fans. Cross your fingers for Jalen Ramsey.