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A case for Florida State's Jalen Ramsey to the Baltimore Ravens

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With my assessment of potential top-5 pick Jalen Ramsey being lackluster when compared to the scouting reports done by other analysts, we here at Baltimore Beatdown wanted to get another opinion. So we asked the guy here that loves Florida State, Sharp21 to give us his opinion on what makes Ramsey a great pick and a perfect fit for the Baltimore Ravens.

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With my assessment of potential top-5 pick Jalen Ramsey seeing him as lackluster when compared to the scouting reports done by other analysts, we here at Baltimore Beatdown wanted to get another opinion. So we asked the guy here that loves Florida State, Sharp21 to give us his opinion on what makes Ramsey a great pick and a perfect fit for the Baltimore Ravens.

*This has been copied and pasted exactly as it was sent to us.


BACKGROUND

Jalen Ramsey was recruited to Florida State from Brentwood Academy in Tennessee.  Coming out of high school, Ramsey was rated as a composite 5 star recruit, #15 in the county, posted a 130.32 SPARQ rating and was selected to participate in the US Army All American Bowl.  Ramsey could have gone to any powerhouse program in the country but he chose to help FSU’s resurgence.  Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was his lead recruiter.

During his freshman season, Ramsey was the first true freshman to start at cornerback at Florida State since Deion Sanders in 1985.  Ramsey went on to start all 14 games for the Seminoles, transitioning to starting free safety as injuries required.  Ramsey helped lead FSU to the top ranked pass defense in the nation, third best overall defense and BCS National Championship.  Ramsey garnered Freshman All American honors from numerous outlets.  In response to Jeremy Pruitt’s unexpected departure after the season, amid rumors better left for gossip journalism, Ramsey took to twitter with a message interpreted by many to mean ‘Pruitt did not make the defensive backs, the defensive backs made Pruitt.’

As a sophomore, Jalen was moved to the Star position under newly promoted DC Charles Kelly.  The Star position is a hybrid role in FSU’s 4-2-5 base defense.  This position incorporates aspects of a linebacker, cornerback and safety, similar to how the Arizona Cardinals have been utilizing Pro Bowler Tyrann Mathieu at the NFL level.  Reports out of Tallahassee indicated that Ramsey had taken on a leadership role, with the FSU coaching staff nicknaming him "Coach", even on a team that has produced 18 draft picks over the last two seasons alone including 7 defenders picked in the top 3 rounds.  Ramsey posted 12 passes defensed, 9.5 tackles for a loss and 2 interceptions in the Star role.  Upon completion of his sophomore season, Jalen was selected to multiple All-ACC teams along with both the USA Today and Scout All America First Team.

Ramsey also participated on the Track & Field team in 2014 and 2015.  His track pursuits culminated in being crowned the ACC’s long jump champion and posting the #4 long jump in the entire NCAA.  Ramsey showcased his sprinter speed, running the first leg on the ACC champion 4x100 relay team and finishing 7th himself in the 100 meters.  Ramsey earned extensive All American honors for his track & field accomplishments.

Entering his junior season, Ramsey was named as a candidate for the Bronco Nagurski Trophy, Jim Thorpe Award and PreSeason All American.  Jalen changed position again, this time to boundary cornerback and was lauded by highly regarded SB NATION analyst/editor Bud Elliott in his preseason podcast as the undisputed leader of FSU’s defense.  Playing at boundary corner, Ramsey posted 43 tackles and 9 passes defensed on FSU’s #15 ranked total defense.  He also split time as FSU’s kickoff returner.  In FSU’s toughest test of the season, against undefeated #1 Clemson, Ramsey was directly accountable for stopping Clemson drives on four separate occasions.  He deserves credit as the leader of the only defense in the country to hold every opponent under 25 points all season long.  Perhaps most impressive, Ramsey has been able to keep his nose clean throughout his time at FSU while the program was under intense media scrutiny.

RAVENS FIT

The accolades and success explained above should be expected from any Top 10 prospect.  What sets Jalen Ramsey apart are the intangibles he brings to the field.

While Ramsey is not a pure cover corner or interception magnet, he absolutely has the athleticism to excel in man to man coverage with better technique.  His length and size give him strong press man upside.  He does have big play ability, as evidenced by his fumble return for a TD against BC and multiple timely QB sacks throughout his college career.  Ramsey is very strong at shedding blocks on the perimeter, tackling against the run and swing or screen passes.  Any concerns over his effort would be explained by stating that every player at every level of football, with the possible exception of Jarrett Johnson, can be prone to a handful of less than stellar effort lapses over the course of a season.  Most who closely follow college football consider Ramsey to be an aggressive player who does not lack effort.  Even so, Mario Edwards Jr. and Ronald Darby are two very recent examples of FSU players whose effort concerns have not prevented them from excelling immediately in the NFL.

As for the intangibles, Ramsey is a fierce competitor, an instinctual heady player and a true leader.  Look no further than the Florida vs. Florida State game this season, the Gators defense was swarming and intimidating the Noles offense early in the game.  Ramsey did not back down to their SEC rival and was jawing with Gators all game long while staying in control of his emotions and not drawing any penalties.  Ramsey is a transcendent player who was frequently seen lining up his teammates in the secondary and willing them to step up their play.  Jalen is the type of player who steps up and speaks to the media after a tough loss.  Adding Ramsey to the Ravens may even help them get more production out of his former teammates already on the roster, Timmy Jernigan and Terrance Brooks.  Ramsey’s mindset when Pruitt departed FSU shows a player who holds himself to the highest standard and does not fault coaches for mistakes on the field.  On a Ravens team where so many defensive leaders have departed over the last three seasons, a player with Ramsey’s extreme confidence and swagger could lift the whole defense.

In terms of scheme fit, the Ravens would need to hire an innovative defensive coordinator to maximize his impact.  A Tyrann Mathieu-esque hybrid role would best serve Ramsey’s skill set and help the Ravens defend the middle of the field, a massive area of weakness this season.  Even if Ramsey ends up at safety, Eric Berry and Earl Thomas are recent examples of safeties who were picked in the top half of the first round and proved more than valuable at those spots in the pass happy NFL today.

For all of these reasons, I covet Jalen Ramsey more than any other prospect in the upcoming draft.  He could shore up communication in the Ravens secondary, give the DC the ability to confuse QBs through utilizing his versatility, improve downfield tackling and bring that trademark swagger back to the Ravens defense.  While Bosa and Hargreaves are very good prospects in their own right, they are already close to their peak ability, while Ramsey has untapped potential that could lead to an induction into the Ravens Ring of Honor with just a bit of improvement in ball skills.  Ramsey has the best upside of any DB expected to enter the draft and his prowess at safety greatly minimizes the risk if is unable to master shutdown cornerback technique.  If the Ravens are fortunate enough to find a trade down partner, acquire more draft capital and still draft Ramsey in the Top 10, all the better for the rebuilding timeline.