Much has been made about what the Dallas Cowboys should do with their fourth overall pick. Should they take what happened to them as an omen and draft a quarterback for the future? Should they chalk the 2015 season up to unfortunate circumstance beyond their control? Both of these directions will change their course for the future but in different ways. With Tony Romo healthy, it's not likely that the Cowboys will have a chance to pick a quarterback this high in quite some time. On the other hand, with Romo still playing at a high level, it's not likely that they'll be able to choose such impact players this high again either. What to do?
Well, though many folks hate the talks about windows and such, the Cowboys need to go for an impact player and make another run at this. They have so many solid pieces in place that using their high draft capital could potentially put them over the top. With that said, I have the perfect candidate in mind that can instantly upgrade a position of weakness. His name? Jalen Ramsey. Here is his current scouting report I wrote a few weeks ago:
What's not to like about Ramsey? He has just about everything you want in a cornerback. He's got size, he's physical and is a well-polished tackler. Ramsey has played just about everything the Seminoles have asked him to and has done so extremely well. The Cowboys have a conundrum at cornerback with Morris Claiborne hitting free agency and Brandon Carr's large contract. They also need a significant upgrade at the position. The current crop of corners in Dallas do everything except make plays. Ramsey is so intriguing because his intelligence is off the charts. His athleticism and fluid movement are something to marvel. This kid just flat-out balls when he's out on the field and his play recognition skills are fantastic as well as his ability to change directions and hunt for the ball. If the Cowboys decided to go with the best cornerback or just perhaps the best secondary prospect in the draft, it would certainly be a difference maker for this defense.
With all the above considered, let's examine why the Cowboys should take Ramsey fourth overall:
A.) He's Dane Brugler's third overall prospect for CBS. Brugler has quickly become one of the favorite draftniks out there and publishes his own findings each year. Brugler calls him versatile to play both safety and cornerback but says he has the ball skills of playmaking cornerback. His tape at Florida State or DBU as it's affectionately called would agree with that statement.
B.) Brandon Carr- He's set to count almost $14 million against the 2016 salary cap and hasn't produced a single interception in two years. If the Cowboys cut him, they can earn up to $9.1 million by designating him a post-June 1 casualty. He's the 7th highest paid cornerback in the NFL but ask PFF where he ranks. Spoiler alert, it's not 7th. Maybe Carr was never going to live up to the contract, he has also never missed a game in Dallas. However, the NFL doesn't give participation medals, you need to make plays. That's something that Carr doesn't do.
C.) Morris Claiborne- Claiborne was taken 6th overall and has never played up to his potential. Now, Dallas got an improved version of him in 2015, but he still missed four games and never recorded a single interception. That's what Claiborne has become, a player that we're hoping can become serviceable. That's not what you want in an NFL cornerback. He's set to hit free agency in less than a month. Unless his market is non-existent, he should get a chance to go elsewhere. Does that mean he could wind up getting it together for another team? Yes, but has he really shown anything that warrants an extension?
D.) Ramsey's Athleticism- Rob Rang (Brugler's partner) has proclaimed Ramsey as an 'Olympic-caliber athlete'. Does that remind you of another defensive back the Cowboys have? Byron Jones stood out and shot up the charts after his Combine results and many experts believe that Ramsey will be this year's winner. Think about that, Ramsey is already the best defensive back in the draft. Byron Jones was still a second round prospect at this time last year. This could be another SPARQ-loaded athlete, something the Cowboys have loved in recent drafts. Ramsey is a straight dominant player.
E.) Ramsey's Approach- It's just as much about the mental part of the game for Jalen as it is the physical part. In that respect, he gets a lot of comparisons to Richard Sherman. He's intelligent and is rarely going to be in a bad position on the receiver. Ramsey is cerebral but has short-term memory as well. He's not going to let a bad play get in his head and keep him from making the next play. He's mouthy too but like Sherman, he doesn't like his intelligence to be tested nor his patience. His vision is impeccable and in many cases, Ramsey will be the player to seal the deal in big-time situations. He can play on an island, down in the box, cover tight ends and has the instincts of a linebacker. He's just a gamer, folks.
If Ramsey makes it past San Diego, then I'm running his card up to the podium. Then I'm opening up a competition between him and Byron Jones at cornerback. One is going to be the free safety and the other will be opposite Orlando Scandrick. Either way, it's a win for the Cowboys. This is a secondary that lacks playmakers and Rod Marinelli sorely needs some. It's been a long time since the Cowboys had a difference maker in their secondary, but boy could they use one. Sure, there are other options in rounds 2-4, but none can bring forth the effort and ability that this kid can. The Cowboys' defense is quite stale. They need energy and aggression but more importantly, they need a Jalen Ramsey. I'm not so sure that these rumors of him being number one on their board hold any weight on February 11th, but I can tell you he's number one on mine.