Jalen Ramsey told the teams picking in the top five of the NFL Draft in 2016 he was the best player on the board and should go No. 1 overall. This year, he was at Florida State’s Pro Day and sang the praises of defensive back Derwin James – the player he said is the best in this year’s NFL Draft.
While Ramsey was not taken first overall, a series of trades took place, resulting in Jared Goff and Carson Wentz becoming the first two players selected, with Joey Bosa taken third overall and the Dallas Cowboys taking running back Ezekiel Elliott before Ramsey’s name was called.
Ramsey, the outspoken All-Pro Cornerback for the Jacksonville Jaguars, thinks James should be the first pick of this year’s Draft.
“(He’s the) top player in this draft this year. Should go No. 1 overall, but you know how things go in the draft,” Ramsey said of James, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “You never know where he could go … top five, top 10, top 15.”
James is seen on many draft boards as a top 10 pick. Where he falls is anyone’s guess. Because this is an offensive heavy NFL Draft, James and other defensive players may take a tumble in the first round.
James played all over the field for the Seminoles, even spending time as a wide receiver and kick returner at Florida State. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds he is an “Absolute alpha in the locker room,” according to his NFL Draft profile on nfl.com. He will play safety on the next level.
That ability to play in a secondary and hit like a linebacker helped make Ramsey an instant success with the Jaguars. It could do the same thing with James, wherever he lands.
“James is one of the best overall athletes in the draft, and brings a different kind of versatility than Ramsey,” writes Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. “While Ramsey showed an ability to play cornerback or safety in college, James has seen action at linebacker and even as an edge rusher, as well.”
James doesn’t lack for confidence and echoed Ramsey’s sentiments while at the Pro Day experience on Tuesday.
“I know what type of player I am,” James said. “I know I’m the best player in this draft. I just feel like it was a down year for us (at FSU). I just feel like I know I’m the best player. No other question.”
Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News has the San Francisco 49ers selecting James with the ninth pick, giving the rising team two alphas in the secondary with Richard Sherman.
“Speaking of San Francisco, Robert Saleh, its defensive coordinator formerly of Seattle, can get his Earl Thomas-type here for the secondary,” Iyer wrote. “Richard Sherman and Akhello Witherspoon will hold down the corners, and Jacquiski Tartt has a bright future at one safety spot. James would allow Sherman to shepherd a sequel to the Legion of Boom for the Seahawks’ biggest rivals.”