Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey wants to play wide receiver -- and probably should

ORLANDO, Fla. -- At some point new Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is going to get the question from cornerback Jalen Ramsey: Can I play offense, too?

Ramsey says he has asked the coaching staff for some snaps or a small package -- heck, one play -- over and over again during his three seasons. He has been denied so far, but maybe DeFilippo will be receptive and will be able to convince coach Doug Marrone, offensive coordinator Todd Wash and the front office it's a good idea.

Considering the state of the Jaguars' offense, it might be a great one.

"I've been telling y'all this for years," Ramsey said after he caught a touchdown pass late in last Sunday's Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium. "Since I've been a Jaguar I've been telling y'all this. I've been asking for this. I know if I get in on that red zone I can make a play somehow. I'm a playmaker at the end of the day.

"We have fun out here, but I really do be asking the Jags 'can I do some stuff [on offense]?' but, nah, of course they haven't been with it."

Ramsey is already one of the NFL's best cornerbacks, and the same skills that have made him a two-time Pro Bowler also would translate to offense. He's 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds with freakishly long arms (33 3/8-inches) and outstanding athleticism. He tied for the best mark in the vertical jump (41.5 inches) and long jump (11 feet, 3 inches) at the 2016 NFL combine and ran a 4.41 40-yard dash.

Ramsey's ball skills were criticized when he came out of Florida State because he only had three interceptions in three years and didn't have one in his final season. However, he has 10 in three seasons with the Jaguars (counting the postseason), which makes him one of only six players in franchise history with double-digit interceptions.

Ramsey's touchdown catch at the Pro Bowl was a simple slant route from the 6-yard line, though cornerback Kyle Fuller wasn't exactly playing press coverage. Still, Ramsey has shown in press coverage that he's able to be physical and jam receivers, so it's natural to think that would translate on offense, too.

It wouldn't be an unusual move. Numerous defensive players have crossed over and made an impact on offense. Deion Sanders, Ramsey's idol, caught 60 passes for 784 yards and three touchdowns in his 14-year career. That includes 36 catches for 475 yards and a touchdown with Dallas in 1996 (his eighth NFL season).

Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel played 14 seasons as a linebacker, but also caught 10 touchdown passes with New England and Kansas City in goal-line packages. Houston defensive end J.J. Watt caught three touchdown passes during the 2014 season.

Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson has 10 catches for 64 yards, seven rushes for 34 yards, and a completed pass for 17 yards over eight seasons.

Ramsey might very well be the Jaguars' best receiver at this point, anyway. Dede Westbrook evolved into the Jaguars' best playmaker by the end of the season and led the team in receptions (66), receiving yards (717), and receiving TDs (five). Keelan Cole was a disappointment in his second season, dropping five passes and losing two fumbles in October and getting benched. His seven drops were tied for the second-most in the NFL.

Second-round pick DJ Chark, whom the Jaguars said they graded as a first-round talent, had a 42.4 percent catch rate (14 catches on 33 targets), lost one fumble, and had two drops -- including one in the end zone against Philadelphia. He made more of an impact as a gunner on special teams than as a receiver.

Marqise Lee missed the entire season after suffering a severe knee injury in the preseason and there's no way to know just how much that will impact him in 2019.

Then there's the whole quarterback issue. The Jaguars don't know who their starter will be in 2019. It could be Nick Foles, one of several veteran free agents (Joe Flacco, Eli Manning and Sam Bradford, for example), or a rookie. If it's the latter, the best plan would be to surround him with as much talent as possible.

So maybe the Jaguars should give Ramsey some time on offense. He's certainly up for it and there's no question he would relish the chance.

"I'm just out here playing with all my God-given ability," Ramsey said after the Pro Bowl. "As much as they're going to let me show I want to show all of it. I'll be doing God a discredit if I didn't come out here and showcase all this ability that he gave me and try to give the fans entertainment and be who I am.

"So that's all I'm doing, man, living in the moment, enjoying my life."