JACKSONVILLE – If the Jaguars are looking for free safety come late April, Mel Kiper Jr. likes their chances of finding one.
That one might even be the best player in the draft.
Jalen Ramsey, free safety/cornerback from Florida State University who some analysts believe the best prospect in the 2016 NFL Draft, could be available when the Jaguars select No. 5 overall on April 28. That's Kiper's projection in his latest mock draft.
Kiper, ESPN's top draft analyst, was asked on a conference call Tuesday what the chances were that Ramsey actually would be available there.
"I think it's realistic – about eighty percent," Kiper said.
Kiper, like most analysts, also believes the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys will consider Ramsey at Nos. 3 and 4, respectfully. But Kiper said the Chargers could opt for Notre Dame offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley or Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner.
Kiper projected Stanley to the Chargers in his latest mock draft.
Kiper said his understanding is the Cowboys likely won't select a quarterback at No. 4, and he projected Buckner to Dallas at No. 4. He also said Buckner has emerged as the draft's top defensive linemen since the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine in late February, moving past Ohio State edge player Joey Bosa.
Kiper said the Chargers likely would be looking at Ramsey as a safety while Dallas likely would select him as a cornerback.
"San Diego wants a safety and Dallas wants a corner," Kiper said. "There are other options they have, and that's what I went with with San Diego and Dallas. That allowed Ramsey to get down to five. A lot of the guys who come in as versatile corner/safeties begin at corner and end up at safety.
"With Ramsey, that could be a similar scenario – and yeah, I think it's probably about 80 percent with him being there at No. 5."
*Kiper said Bosa also could be available to the Jaguars at No. 5. Once considered a possible No. 1 overall selection, Kiper said Bosa remains a Top 5 prospect. "He's a fear-factor player," Kiper said. "It's hard to block him. I think he's in line to maybe be the sixth pick to Baltimore. If he doesn't go to Dallas, Baltimore would be the next possibility at No. 6." …
*Kiper said Buckner has emerged as a Top 5 player because his tape at Oregon show an "incredibly active" player who "always played to the level of his talent." Added Kiper, "He has a great motor. He never (takes) plays off. … If you don't think Buckner can play in a 4-3 [defense] I think you're mistaken."
*Kiper said while Tennessee appears likely to take Mississippi offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil at No. 1 overall with Cleveland likely to take a quarterback No. 2, San Diego's selection is tougher to predict. He said the selection likely will be either Stanley, Ramsey or Buckner. "They're all outstanding players," Kiper said. "It depends how their board sets up. Every positon need they can address with that third pick." …
*Kiper also broke down the running back position in the first round, saying Ohio State running Ezekiel Elliott projects higher than Alabama running back and 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry. "I think Elliott is the better-suited to be successful and more of a guarantee out of the block," Kiper said. Kiper projected Elliott as a likely Top 20 selection with Henry in the second round. …