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With the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft…

In the past decade of the NFL Draft, only three positions have been selected first overall: quarterback, left tackle, and pass rusher. Quarterback is the most important position in the game, left tackle protects the blindside of the quarterback and pass rushers get the opposing quarterback on the ground. The last time a player outside of those three positions was selected first overall was back in 1996 with Keyshawn Johnson, who was selected first overall by the New York Jets.

Following that same model, there are two players in this year’s draft that fit the bill for the Tennessee Titans, who hold the first overall pick. They drafted Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick last year, so they don’t need a quarterback. That leaves Laremy Tunsil, offensive tackle from Ole Miss, and Jeoy Bosa, defensive end from Ohio State, as the other two options.

But could there be another option for the Titans?

Enter Jalen Ramsey, defensive back from Florida State.

While scouts and analysts have long believed Jalen Ramsey to be a top-five pick and the best defensive back available in the draft, recently the notion of him being the top overall pick in the draft has gained momentum. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report recently listed Jalen Ramsey as the best overall player in the draft and several other draft analysts have slotted Ramsey in with the Titans as the first overall pick.

So what makes Jalen Ramsey the best player in the draft?

First and foremost, his versatility is attractive to NFL teams. He played safety as a true freshman season and moved to the star (linebacker/safety hybrid) role in his sophomore season. As a junior, he took over as the boundary cornerback in Florida State’s defensive scheme. In short, he played three different positions at an All-American level in his three years at Florida State. Despite playing strictly cornerback as a junior, NFL teams will not hesitate to move him around depending upon the situation. He can cover outside receivers as a cornerback, match up man-to-man with tight ends as a safety or blitz off of the edge as a pass rusher.

At the Combine, Ramsey put on a show. He ran a 4.41 40-yard dash, jumped 41.5″ in the vertical jump and jumped 11’3″ in the broad jump. Ramsey also impressed in the on-the-field drills, displaying a good aptitude for locating and high pointing the ball in the air. He measured in at 6-1, 209 lbs., a great size for either cornerback or safety in the league.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 29: Defensive back Jalen Ramsey of Florida State in action during the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 29, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Jalen Ramsey ran a 4.41 40-yard dash and was easily the most impressive defensive back at the Combine. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

If Jalen Ramsey is drafted first overall, Ramsey could fill a variety of roles with the Titans. The Titans already have an established cornerback on their roster in Jason McCourty, but he missed 12 games in 2015 due to a groin injury. In 2015, the Titans had the 7th best pass defense in the league, only allowing 229.9 yards per game, and pairing Ramsey with McCourty would give the Titans one of the most athletic cornerback tandems in the league. Or, if the Titans are comfortable with McCourty and Perrish Cox at cornerback, Jalen Ramsey could easily slide into either safety spot in their defense. Some think that safety is where Ramsey could have his highest ceiling, with his eyes on the quarterback and being able to make a play on the ball either in the air or stripping it from opponents.

The last time a defensive back was drafted first overall was all the way back in 1956 when Gary Glick from Colorado A&M was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Glick played quarterback and linebacker at Colorado A&M, but was drafted to play free safety for the Steelers.

While it’s not impossible for Ramsey to be taken first overall, we have previously highlighted the reasons why it is more likely that Ramsey will be taken either third or fourth overall by the Chargers or Cowboys. However, if Ramsey is not selected first overall, there is a chance that some team will trade with the Browns to snag Ramsey before the Chargers are on the clock. If Ramsey is taken first overall, that would give Florida State the first pair of back-to-back first overall selections since 1968 and 1969, when Ron Yary and O.J. Simpson from USC were taken.

It’s unlikely that Jalen Ramsey will be the first overall selection in the draft, but it is not out of the question. Ramsey is perhaps the best player in the draft and a player that many believe will go on to have a terrific NFL career. No matter where he gets drafted, whether it be first overall to the Titans or fifth overall to the Jaguars, he will make some NFL front office very, very happy that they drafted him.


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