TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jalen Ramsey ought to feel right at home in his new NFL city. The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Ramsey with the fifth overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, making him the third Florida State player selected by that franchise in as many seasons. Ramsey, a three-time All-American defensive back, will join former teammates Rashad Greene (fifth round in 2015) and Telvin Smith (fifth round in 2014) in Jacksonville.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Ramsey said. “I’m going from Nole Nation to Jaguar Nation. I’m ready. I can’t wait to to play with Telvin again. The last time we were teamed up, we won the national championship. I can’t wait to see what we can do in ‘J-ville.'”
Ramsey is the second Seminole selected in the top five of the draft in as many years (quarterback Jameis Winston went No. 1 overall in 2015), and matches both Deion Sanders (No. 5 in 1989) and Terrell Buckley (No. 5 in 1992) as the highest-drafted defensive back in FSU history.
All told, Ramsey is the 10th Florida State defensive back drafted in the first round.
“I’m extremely proud of Jalen and very excited for him and his family,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He earned every bit of this with his work ethic and his passion for the game. He will be a tremendous player for the Jacksonville Jaguars and I’m looking forward to watching him on Sundays for years to come.
“Jalen is a true Seminole and he will continue to be a great ambassador for our program and for Florida State. Congratulations to Jalen and his family.”
A 6-1, 202-pound native of Smyrna, Tenn., near Nashville, Ramsey starred at three positions during his career at Florida State.
He played a key role on FSU’s 2013 national championship team, first at cornerback – where he became the first Seminole freshman to start at that position since Sanders in 1985 – and then at safety.
A year later, Ramsey moved to the “star” nickel back position, which allowed him to show off his skills defending the pass, stopping the run and rushing the quarterback off the edge.
Finally, Ramsey moved to full-time cornerback as a junior and led the team with 10 pass break-ups on the way to consensus All-America honors.
“He’s a special athlete,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “…Of all the tape I’ve watched, this is a different cat. He’s got a ‘wow’ factor as an athlete. He literally has world-class speed.”
Ramsey’s versatility is considered one of his strongest selling points for the next level. He said he prefers to play cornerback, but is happy to line up anywhere.
“I’ll play wherever they need me to,” Ramsey said. “I feel like I can work outside, in the slot or play deep.”
Ramsey, who also starred on the Seminoles’ track and field team, leaves FSU having started all 41 games in which he played. He tallied 180 tackles (15 for loss), five sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and two defensive touchdowns.
Draft analysts looking for nits to pick have brought up Ramsey’s relatively light interception total. But Fisher chalked that up to opponents simply choosing to avoid Ramsey’s side of the field.
“You throw at him enough, he’ll get his picks,” Fisher said during a TV interview Thursday morning. “I promise you.”