In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected a cornerback/safety hybrid with their 27th pick in the first round. Fast forward one year, to 2016, and it looks like the Cowboys are primed to draft another hybrid defensive back at #4 overall, 23 draft slots ahead of what they used in 2015.
Jalen Ramsey has been mocked to the Cowboys by a lot of the so-called draft “experts” and a lot of fans have echoed the same type of enthusiasm in favor of selecting him at #4 overall.
Do the Cowboys really need another hybrid defensive back?
Personally, I’m not as high on Ramsey as a lot of people, but I can understand the attraction given the Cowboys need to upgrade the secondary and the fact that Ramsey is a superb athlete.
I don’t think Ramsey is as good as Byron Jones is at this point, and I think he is going to have to be primarily a safety in the NFL. Ramsey just isn’t as smooth of an athlete as Jones is and really struggles with quick switch wide receivers because of the stiffness in his hips. This will be the main reason why he will struggle as a CB in the NFL and why he is considered better suited to play safety.
Let’s take a look at Ramsey and Jones’ predraft workout numbers to compare the two players side-by-side:
|Weight:||199 lbs.||209 lbs.|
|Arm Length:||32″||33 3/8″|
|40 yard dash:||4.36 (pro day)||4.41|
|Bench Press:||18 reps (pro day)||14 reps|
|Vertical Jump:||44 1/2″||41 1/2″|
|3 Cone Drill:||6.78||6.94|
|20 Yard Shuffle:||3.94||4.18|
|60 Yard Shuffle:||10.98||11.10|
As you can see, Byron Jones outperformed Jalen Ramsey in every single drill, although the results were fairly similar.
Again, do the Cowboys need another Byron Jones in the secondary?
Honestly, I can see an argument for both sides in favor of or against drafting Ramsey and I think I would be fine with either outcome.
It’s no secret that the Cowboys need to improve their secondary. Morris Claiborne is back on a one-year deal, Orlando Scandrick is coming back off of a major knee injury, and Brandon Carr has one year remaining on his contract even though his status with the team is still a little murky at this point.
At the safety position things aren’t much better except it looks as if Byron Jones is the future at the free safety spot and as of now, Barry Church is penciled in to start next to him at strong safety.
So there is no denying that the addition of Ramsey could help upgrade the secondary, but it really depends on if the Cowboys view him more as a safety or a cornerback.
I think if they view him as a CB, it would be a mistake to use the #4 overall draft pick on him because I think there are better players available later in the draft that have had better production.
I personally don’t view Ramsey as a good fit at CB in the NFL.
I think he will struggle at the position, but he could fill in as an emergency corner if needed. It’s not something I would want long-term, but filling in for emergency situations would be an added benefit to the roster.
It looks like I’m not alone in thinking Ramsey is a bad fit as a cornerback in the NFL.
On the other hand, I think Ramsey is the best safety in the entire 2016 draft class and I think the idea of Ramsey and Jones as the future starting safety duo for the Cowboys would be amazing.
Ramsey and Jones at safety would allow defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to really get creative with coverages because either one of them can drop down and cover athletic tight ends or play that deep centerfield type safety.
Both Ramsey and Jones are at their best when they are making plays in front of them. They tend to struggle when they have to turn and make plays down the field, this is especially true with Ramsey (stiff hips).
Although both players are very similar, Jones is a better player at this point and has already proven that he is ready for a larger role on defense. I’m personally expecting big things from him in 2016.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter what I think. It only really matters what the Cowboys think and if they are willing or not to use the #4 overall draft pick on another hybrid defensive back.
Where do you stand?