TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jalen Ramsey’s run through Florida State’s Pro Day felt like an NFL audition mixed with a victory lap. The former FSU cornerback declined to run any timed drills, opting to stand on his impressive marks from last month’s NFL combine, but still put on a show during position workouts. By the time it was over, Ramsey’s status as a potential No. 1 overall pick was still secure.
It’s a status that Ramsey feels he has earned.
“I’ve proven it,” Ramsey said. “I have the resume for it. You can watch my game film. Wherever you want to put the spotlight on me, wherever you want to put pressure on me, I’ll step up to the challenge.
“I’m a competitor. I’m a winner. That’s just what I do.”
A three-time All-American at Florida State, Ramsey has his sights set on history.
The Tennessee Titans hold the No. 1 pick. If they use it on Ramsey, he’ll become just the second defensive back taken No. 1, and the first since Gary Glick in 1956.
Not only that, but picking Ramsey first would also make Florida State the first school with back-to-back No. 1 picks since USC in 1968 and 69 (Ron Yary and O.J. Simpson). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked quarterback Jameis Winston first overall last year.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, who has presided over an unprecedented run of 29 draft picks in a three-year span, said Ramsey’s credentials are worthy of the first selection.
“There’s not many guys like him,” Fisher said. “And everybody talks about all these offenses and how you stop the big receiver, the little receiver, the big tight end. He can play all the positions (in the secondary).”
Which is exactly what Ramsey did in three years at FSU. He starred first as a safety in 2013, then as a nickel back in 2014, then, finally, a cornerback in 2015.
Along the way, he amassed 122 tackles, five sacks, three interceptions and four forced fumbles.
While his carousel through the secondary has led to questions about what position he’ll play in the NFL, Ramsey believes his versatility is a strong selling point.
“I would love to play corner, but I’m versatile,” Ramsey said. “So any team that wants to put me wherever, I can play there.”
With a full contingent of Titans personnel in attendance – including general manager Jon Robinson, head coach Mike Mularkey and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau – Ramsey wowed the crowd by running down passes and leaping to catch them at their highest point.
He also took part in a few speed and agility workouts.
“I’m big, I’m strong, I’m fast,” Ramsey said. “I have the hips. I have the footwork. I’m always trying to perfect my craft. … Wherever you put me, I’m going to compete and I’m going to win.”
Ramsey said he’s been in steady contact with the Titans, and most draft pundits believe the franchise is deciding between Ramsey and Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil.
The Titans scouted Tunsil at Ole Miss’ Pro Day on Monday, and, given that they drafted quarterback Marcus Mariota in the first round last year, investing in a top-flight offensive lineman would make sense.
But, in the modern NFL, which features pass-heavy offenses and points scored at a record rate, there’s a case to be made for a defensive difference-maker, too.
“He is very capable of being the first pick,” Fisher said. “And you can justify it because of the versatility he brings to the defensive side of the football.”
Then there’s the fact that Ramsey grew up in Smyrna, Tenn., about 20 miles south of Nashville.
The opportunity for a team to pick a hometown kid No. 1 overall doesn’t come around too often.
Ramsey said that thought has crossed his mind, but he’d rather it not factor into the Titans’ decision.
As far as he’s concerned, his performance on the field speaks for itself.
“I want them to pick me because they know I’m the best player in this year’s draft,” Ramsey said. “Not because I’m a guy from Tennessee. That’s just icing on the cake.”