With Super Bowl 50 in the books, it’s time for the real NFL offseason to start and the first thing on the docket is the NFL Combine at the end of the month. It will be a closer look at some of the players the Jacksonville Jaguars could be interested in during the NFL Draft, but one player in particular will have the attention of most Jaguars fans, in Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey.
So far, Ramsey seems to be the most common mocked pick or wanted pick by a lot of Jaguars fans, with good reason. With all the focus on Ramsey however, it has raised a few questions about the prospect and where the Jaguars should go with the No. 5 overall pick.
Is it Jalen Ramsey or bust?
No, not really. In my personal opinion, Ramsey is probably the most ideal pick for the Jaguars at the No. 5 spot. While they can use more pass rushers, the safety situation has been a mess the past few seasons and it’s proven to be a vital piece of Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme. Ramsey may not be that true Cover-3 centerfield that the scheme calls for, but he’s good enough at that to fill the hole, as well as provide versatility in the defensive backfield. He can play that single high spot on the defense, but he can also come up and provide man coverage or work in the box, even line up at corner if need be.
As mentioned, Ramsey is probably the most ideal pick for the Jaguars and I wouldn’t be upset if they tried to jump the No. 4 overall pick to ensure they get him in the draft. Fortunately, I believe Ramsey will be there waiting for him at the No. 5 spot and that will all be moot.
The bigger question would be if you pick someone over Ramsey if he’s on the board. In that instance, I don’t think it really behooves the Jaguars to do so. It’s possible to get a band aid for the safety position in free agency, but it’s much easier to find a pass rusher to help you than it is that long-term answer at the safety position. You can manufacture a rush in the NFL (well, some people can…) but it’s more difficult to manufacture coverage. If Ramsey is there, he should definitely be the pick for the Jaguars, even over someone like Joey Bosa.
Is a safety worth a Top 5 pick?
Ultimately this ends up being the next question asked about the Jaguars pick, because fans are always obsessed with fake "value" in the NFL Draft. If the Jaguars think Ramsey is what they need at the safety position and will be a playmaker for them, he’s worth the No. 5 overall pick. Value is subjective, especially when it comes to the NFL Draft where there are 32 different rankings for players all based on multiple variables.
Each player is ranked based on what each team values in a player at that player’s position and within that team’s scheme. It doesn’t matter where Todd McShay or Mel Kiper rank someone on their value board. While there are some positions that are inherently not-valuable picked in the Top 5, overall if a team thinks it’s their guy, it’s worth the pick.
On a broader scale though, when thinking about positional value in the NFL Draft, I personally think coverage safety has become a premium position in the NFL today. If you look at the best defenses in the NFL they will typically have two things, a great pass rush and a great coverage player. Some teams (like Seattle) have both, a great pass rush and great guys in coverage on the back end.
The NFL has evolved into a pass heavy league where a quarterback throwing for 3,000+ yards is the norm, so being able to defend the pass is vital. When you have a defensive scheme that operates around a safety like the Jaguars do, it moves that spot to be a premium position and premium positions are what you draft in the Top 10.