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Jalen Ramsey: "I'm so excited right now"


JACKSONVILLE – Jalen Ramsey saw the area code, and he knew.

The "904" area code meant Jacksonville, and that meant being the No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.

It also meant going where he wanted to go.

Ramsey, a cornerback/safety from Florida State University, on Thursday night was selected by the Jaguars with the No. 5 overall selection in the NFL Draft. It was a pick many believed the Jaguars would never get a chance to make, but it was one the Jaguars made quickly given the opportunity.

Ramsey? He couldn't have been happier.

"I'm so excited right now," Ramsey said, adding, "At the end of the day, I feel like I'm a winner. I feel I can bring that to Jacksonville."

Ramsey, who many analysts believed the best position player in the draft, was projected by many analysts to be selected at No. 3 or No. 4 overall. But the San Diego Chargers surprised many by selecting Ohio State edge defender Joey Bosa, then the Dallas Cowboys selected Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott at No. 4 overall.

Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said the Jaguars had three defensive players they liked at No. 5. He also said they liked Ramsey the most of those three.

"An easy decision," Caldwell called the selection.

Ramsey said he received the call "no more than a minute" after the Cowboys' selection.

"I saw '904' and I picked up the phone so quick," he said. "I didn't let it get through the first ring. I'm just excited to come to Jacksonville."

With the fifth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Jaguars selected Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey.

The Jaguars selected Florida State linebacker Telvin Smith in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft then selected Florida State wide receiver Rashad Greene in last year's draft.

"The last time I teamed up with them we got a national championship," he said, referring to the Seminoles' national title following the 2013 season.

He added, "I've not spoken to them yet. My phone's kind of blowing off the hook."

Ramsey called the Jaguars a team "on the rise."

"Hopefully, I can help them get back to the top," he said.

Ramsey played cornerback at FSU as a junior after splitting time at the positions as a freshman. He played a hybrid linebacker/safety role as a sophomore. Many analysts widely considered him not only the best cornerback in the draft, but the best free safety, too.

Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley both said Ramsey will begin his career at cornerback.

"Our whole plan was to have him play corner," Bradley said.

Ramsey, who said throughout the pre-draft process he believed he was the best player in the draft, also said his preference was to play cornerback in the NFL.

"It's super-exciting," Ramsey said. "I always said I was a corner who could play those other positions. I'm glad he agrees with me. Being a press corner, I feel I fit in their system perfectly. At the end of the day, whatever position they want me to play – whether they want to switch me from corner to anywhere else – I'd be more than happy to."

Ramsey said he got an immediate sense from the Jaguars during the pre-draft process that they would like to select him.

"They talked about it on my [pre-draft] visit there," Ramsey said. "They said, 'If they're still on the board we're going to get you.'''

But it didn't become real until Thursday about 15 minutes before nine o'clock.

"Once the phone call came in that's really when it came into reality for me," Ramsey said. "I was enjoying my family and enjoying being in [Chicago]."

The Jaguars signed free safety Tashaun Gipson as an unrestricted free agent in March, and he is expected to start alongside either Johnathan Cyprien or James Sample. The Jaguars also signed Prince Amukamara to a one-year deal at cornerback with Davon House having started at cornerback last season after signing as an unrestricted free agent.

Aaron Colvin, who started opposite House much of last season and who is expected to play the nickel corner, will be suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing-supplements policy.

The Jaguars finished 24th in the NFL in total defense last season and 31st in points allowed.

"I'm going to do the best I can for the organization," he said. "I'm going to try to do everything that's asked of me the best I can and give them all the effort I have in my body. I'm ready to get to Jacksonville and play."

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