Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey is supposed to think he’s the best player in the 2016 NFL draft, but it’s entirely possible the three-time All-American playmaker is good enough to wind up atop the draft in four weeks’ time.
The key for Ramsey, who might be the most gifted player in this year’s draft class, might be that he can ball out as a cornerback or a safety and can cover guys as a nickel. He’s big, strong, fast and versatile, and he rocked his Pro Day on Tuesday.
So, could Ramsey wind up going to the Tennessee Titans first overall?
“It’s what I’ve always dreamed of,” Ramsey said Tuesday, per ESPN.com. “It’s what I’ve worked for, and I want them to pick me because they know I’m the best player in this year’s draft [and] not because I’m a guy from Tennessee. That’s just icing on the cake.”
Here’s the problem: It’s been two decades since a defensive back was last selected in the top three and 60 years since a DB was last picked first overall. That’s right, a cornerback or safety hasn’t been a first overall pick since the Pittsburgh Steelers took Colorado State product Gary Glick with the top pick in 1956. And for what it’s worth, Glick had a pretty unremarkable career.
Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey, Deion Sanders, Rod Woodson and Ronnie Lott weren’t top picks, but Ramsey believes he can be an exception to the rule.
“I’ve proven it,” Ramsey said, per ESPN. “I’ve had the resume for it. You can watch my game film. Wherever you want to put the spotlight on me, wherever you want to try to put pressure on me, I’m going to step up to the challenge. I’m a competitor. I’m a winner. That’s just what I do.”
The odds are out of his favor, not just because of precedents, but also because this is a quarterback-driven league that values pivots and pass-rushers to a much larger extent than anyone else. There are three good quarterbacks in this draft and a slew of stellar defensive linemen, so Ramsey will be fighting an uphill battle. That said, there are no clear top prospects in other spots, whereas he’s become the obvious No. 1 defensive back in this class.