Eric DeCosta Isn't Ruling Out Drafting Cornerback Jalen Ramsey


Several of the draft's top prospects are good fits for Baltimore.

Ohio State's Joey Bosa could step into Courtney Upshaw's spot and add a much-desired pass rusher. Oregon's DeForest Buckner could replace veteran Chris Canty as a 3-4 defensive end. UCLA's Myles Jack would fill Daryl Smith's shoes.

But perhaps no prospect is more tailor made for the Ravens than Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Ramsey is a rare athlete for his size at 6-foot-1, 202 pounds. He is very rangy both at cornerback and safety and, despite just three career interceptions, has the tools to be a turnover machine.

The trouble is, he is largely projected to be off the board before the Ravens are on the clock at No. 6.

Some analysts, such as NFL Media's Charles Davis, even have Ramsey as the No. 1-overall pick. Most often, mocks have him going to the San Diego Chargers at the No. 3 spot. Fewer having him sliding to Dallas at No. 4 or Jacksonville at 5.

But no prominent mock draft has had Ramsey slide to the Ravens since January, when ESPN's Todd McShay and NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah both penciled him in.

Well, Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta – a man who looks at those mock drafts – isn't ruling Ramsey out for purple and black.

"Well, we never thought Terrell Suggs would be there at [pick No.] 10," DeCosta said. "So we'll prepare for everything that happens."

In 2003, the Ravens saw Suggs slip  far down the board. Suggs had massive college production. He broke the NCAA sack record in 2002 with 24 sacks and led the nation in tackles for loss. He was the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American.

Suggs wasn't even the first defensive lineman off the board, however. Three defensive tackles (Dewayne Roberson, Johnathan Sullivan and Kevin Williams) were all drafted ahead of Suggs.

Part of the reason is that Suggs had a subpar 40-yard dash in the 4.8-second range. It wasn't a terrible time, but slower than expected, and gave teams pause about his explosiveness off the line. His vertical jump and bench press reps were also not flattering.

The Ravens ended up getting a bargain because teams put too much stock into the combine performance and not enough into Suggs' tape.

The Ravens may not get so lucky with Ramsey. He's done nothing but impress since the season ended, blazing the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds and posting massive vertical jumps and broad jumps. He once again showed off his athleticism at his pro day.

But, hey, anything can happen, right?

"There's been a lot of surprises over the years," DeCosta said. "Players fall to you."

DeCosta, who is generally very accurate at predicting which player the Ravens will end up with in the first round, shared a story from the 2006 draft as an example.

"I would have bet every dollar that I had that Donte Whitner would've been there [for us]," DeCosta said. "I thought for sure he was going to be a safe fallback pick for us. I was shocked. I thought if these other players get picked, he's our guy, and he got picked. You never know."

The Buffalo Bills took Whitner at No. 8 overall. The Ravens moved up one spot and drafted defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at No. 12.

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