#16 Florida State at #1 Clemson - 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
CB Jalen Ramsey, 6-foot-1, 202 pounds (#8, Junior)
Normally you don't see a cornerback get drafted as high as the top-five picks in the NFL Draft. The last player to do that was Patrick Peterson, mostly due to his elite playmaking ability in all phases of the game. I have a strong feeling that Jalen Ramsey will follow in Peterson's footsteps and be selected as early as the top-three picks. He can do it all. You want Ramsey to play CB, safety or even linebacker? No problem. Ramsey was regarded as one of the top talents in the country in 2014 as a safety for the Seminoles. Fast-forward to 2015 where he's made the transition to CB and he's still turning heads.
Ramsey is a natural playmaker, much like Peterson. He constantly finds ways to get a hand on the ball and has already notched eight pass deflections in eight games this year (though I'd like to see him turn it into more interceptions). As a safety last year, he tallied two interceptions, three sacks, three forced fumbles, 12 pass deflections and a blocked extra point. If you're looking for the ball, you'll have no trouble finding Jalen Ramsey.
Unlike most players in the secondary, Ramsey has an uncanny ability to create pressure off the edge.
Ramsey pressured the QB on two straight plays against Miami last year, resulting in a deflected pass for an incompletion. In the play above, Ramsey does his best Vic Beasley impression by bending and dipping around the right tackle. You just don't see many players in the secondary that are able to do that. Jalen Ramsey is a special breed and a phenomenal athlete. If you don't believe me, check out his score from Nike's SPARQ combine back in 2012.
Of course, rushing the passer isn't going to be Ramsey's primary responsibility. It's obvious that he can play all over the field, but I think his best fit is as an outside corner. He has the body type that scouts adore and his physicality at the position reminds me of former Seminole and current Minnesota Viking, Xavier Rhodes.
I guess you don't have to worry about getting beat over the top if you can just throw your opponent out of bounds within the five-yard limit.
This is one of my favorite plays I've seen from Ramsey. His reaction to the screen is maybe a bit delayed, but he makes up for it by running straight through the lead blocker to bring down the ball carrier. That's grown man football.
Ramsey is a blast to watch and he's the last guy you want to see lined up across from you. He loves to get inside your head and get you off your game. His seamless transition from safety to cornerback proves that he's a defensive scholar, while his aggressive nature and experience at safety gives him an edge in run support. Ramsey would be a great addition for Detroit, but it all depends on where the Lions are picking in the upcoming draft. I would be comfortable with selecting Ramsey anywhere between No. 5 and No. 10 overall, depending on who's still on the board.
Other players to watch:
RB Dalvin Cook, 5-foot-11, 202 pounds (#4, Soph.) -- not eligible for next year's draft, but a name you should know
LB Terrance Smith, 6-foot-4, 230 pounds (#24, RS Senior)
DT Nile Lawrence-Stample, 6-foot-1, 302 pounds (#99, RS Senior)
LB Reggie Northrup, 6-foot-1, 231 pounds (#5, Senior)
S Nate Andrews, 6-foot-0, 206 pounds (#29, Junior)
EDGE Shaq Lawson, 6-foot-3, 270 pounds (#90, Junior)
Shaq Lawson is having a breakout Junior year and has risen to the top of draft boards. CBS Sports currently ranks him No. 13 on their big board, which is pretty astonishing for a player that was backing up Vic Beasley last year. Lawson first caught my eye against Notre Dame where he got the best of Ronnie Stanley. Currently, I have Stanley as my No. 2 offensive tackle and that was the first time I've seen him struggle as badly as he did against Lawson.
Lawson wins in a variety of ways. He uses his spin move to perfection and does a remarkable job of turning his speed into power. He can also beat you with his speed rush around the edge, although sometimes he appears to be quite stiff and lacks flexibility to dip around OTs.
What I really love about Lawson is his high motor. Lawson quickly beats the left tackle with a spin move in the play above, but is neutralized when the running back jumps in to help. Some D-linemen would just call it quits and watch the rest of the play develop, but Lawson never stops chugging and forces the QB to throw off of his back foot, while falling back toward the sideline.
It's extremely likely that the Lions will be picking in the top-five for the 100th time in franchise history. I don't believe that Lawson will warrant a selection that high and it's highly probable that he won't make it to the second round, so it would probably require the Lions trading down to end up with the Clemson product. But hey, anything can happen leading up to the draft, right?
Other players to watch:
CB Mackensie Alexander, 5-foot-11, 195 pounds (#2, RS Soph.)
WR Mike Williams, 6-foot-4, 220 pounds (#7, Junior)
S Jayron Kearse, 6-foot-5, 220 pounds (#1, Junior)
DT D.J. Reader, 6-foot-3, 325 pounds (#48, Senior)