JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Last week, ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. released his latest mock draft, and he had the Jacksonville Jaguars taking cornerback/safety Jalen Ramsey over defensive end Joey Bosa with the fifth overall pick.
Kiper further broke down his reasons for doing so on a recent conference call, and it boiled down to one thing.
Rather, one person: Dante Fowler Jr.
The Jaguars selected Fowler with the third pick in 2015, and he'll finally get on the field after missing his first season with a torn ACL. Kiper said Fowler's return is essentially the same thing as drafting Bosa so it makes more sense for the Jaguars to take Ramsey to fill a deficiency at safety, which is as big of a need as pass rusher for the Jaguars.
"I just think having Fowler coming in off the injury, similar to what [kind of player] Bosa is, now you get a Ramsey, who’s a tremendous defensive back," Kiper said. "You could make an argument Ramsey is the best player in this draft.
"Some would make an argument Bosa, is but you could certainly make the similar argument with Jalen Ramsey.”
Kiper further compared Ramsey to Hall of Fame Rod Woodson and likely future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, players who played cornerback and transitioned to safety in the NFL. Ramsey did both at Florida State, recording 181 tackles, 5.0 sacks, three interceptions, and four forced fumbles in three seasons.
Ramsey could play corner or safety in the NFL, but the Jaguars would most likely see him as a long-term answer at safety.
"This is a kid who played tremendous football at safety, tremendous at corner," Kiper said. "He has length. He has athleticism. He’s coming in like a Rod Woodson did, like a Charles Woodson, the great corners over the years, the corner/safety types that did both in the NFL. Before his career is over, he will have played both positions."