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'16 NFL Draft: Ramsey has "elite" skills


JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' selection at No. 5 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft is anyone's guess.

In fact, judging by recent mock drafts that have projected a myriad of players there, many indeed are guessing when projecting the selection.

One thing ESPN analyst Todd McShay believes is if Florida State University cornerback/safety Jalen Ramsey is available to the Jaguars at No. 5, the team almost certainly will take him. As McShay sees it, Ramsey is too good for the Jaguars to pass there.

"Anything can happen, but I'd be a little surprised if he got out of the Top 5," McShay said on a post-NFL Scouting Combine conference call with national media Wednesday afternoon.

Ramsey, who has been projected at both safety and cornerback, is one of a handful of players commonly projected to the Jaguars at No. 5. Others include edge player Joey Bosa of Ohio State, Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and UCLA linebacker Myles Jack.

Ramsey is a popular projection because of the Jaguars' need at the spot – and because he possesses rare versatility and a dual-position skill set. McShay compared him loosely to cornerback Patrick Peterson of Arizona, a player McShay called "one of the best two or three defensive backs I've ever evaluated."

"That was as close as I could get, just in terms of a bigger guy, longer arms, great straight-line speed," McShay said of Ramsey. "As a press corner, or a nickel, or a free safety – he's just a great football player. … The closing burst when the ball is in the air is at the elite level."

Ramsey also performed well at the combine, with McShay calling his performance there a workout that "matches up with what you see on tape."

"Jacksonville at [No.] five also makes a lot of sense, considering most people would argue cornerback and safety, if not their top two needs, are in the top three and four," McShay said.

Also this week:

*McShay called Dallas' selection at No. 4 overall "a hinge point early in the draft," noting that the Cowboys' decision on whether to take a quarterback or a quicker-impact player at another position could decide how several selections thereafter play out. …

*McShay agreed with many analysts who consider this one of the best defensive tackle classes in memory. He has 16 defensive tackles among his Top 100 prospects. "The list goes on and on at defensive tackle," he said. …

*McShay said while he no longer projects Bosa No. 1 overall to Tennessee, he continues to think Bosa is one of the best two or three players in the draft. Bosa's 4.86-second 40-yard dash time hurt him in the eyes of some analysts. "But he also worked out well in every other drill," McShay said. "His game's not built on speed. It's built on quickness, power, leverage, hand usage. He's exceptional with his hands." …

*McShay discussed Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche's perception issues. Nkemdiche is  considered one of the draft's best four or five players, but McShay said off-field issues could force a slide to late in the first or early in the second round. "It's hard to get somebody to say something really positive about Nkemdiche from the league," McShay said. "Ultimately, it's about trust. Do you trust this individual to handle more fame than he's ever had before in his life, more money than he's ever had before in his life and more free time than he's ever had before? There are a lot of people in the league – decision-makers – right now really questioning that." …

*McShay said while Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith is a Top 5 talent, multiple teams will have him off their draft board following a serious knee injury late last season. "The whole deal with Smith is medical," he said. McShay said there will be teams with more tolerant medical standards and one of those teams will take Smith. With Smith reportedly having suffered an injury more serious than a "clean" anterior cruciate ligament" tear, the question is where? "For those teams, the value is somewhere in the first round, but will they be willing to to part with the 2016 season?" McShay said.

*McShay said Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is more than just the top-rated running back in the draft. "He's an elite player," McShay said. "If it wasn't the running back position, I think we'd lock him in [in the Top 4]. It won't surprise me at all if he's a Top 10 pick." …

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