Many fans in Cowboys Nation have a man-crush on Jalen Ramsey, he's been at the top of their draft list for quite some time now. Now that arguably the best player on the team in Dez Bryant is on board, it only furthers their belief that he's the best pick at four.
Dez Bryant says he'd take Florida State defensive back Jalen Ramsey if he had the call for the Cowboys' fourth overall pick.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) March 19, 2016
Here on BTB, we've discussed Jalen Ramsey over the course of the last three months. We've mocked him to the Cowboys several times as well and he's one of the true playmakers of this draft. Make no mistake, there is a difference in first-round talents and Top-5 talents, Ramsey is as top of the line as they come in this year's class. He's a world-class athlete and just flat-out one of those players that you have to deal with.
The Cowboys may have a more pressing need at pass rusher but with the fourth pick, they can get a real cornerstone type of playmaker. That is the reason his positioning has never wavered on my draft board because he's exceptional, not just good. This year's pass rushing class is not as deep, which places an extra premium on the position, but don't let that force you into thinking it's the only option. Jalen Ramsey gives you a tremendous upgrade to a secondary that lacks playmaking ability.
Some detractors will point to two separate instances as to why they would prefer to not take a defensive back as high as four. The first being the whole ordeal with the trade up to select Morris Claiborne. Each case is different but Claiborne wasn't the player that Ramsey is. Sure, Claiborne rose up the stat-sheet and made tons of picks and plays for the Tigers, but he wasn't even the best defensive back on his team. At first, Patrick Peterson was the guy and Claiborne benefited from having his presence. I would also venture to say that Tyrann Mathieu was also a better defensive back than Claiborne.
Of course, Mo' was touted as the very best cornerback in the 2012 draft, but he didn't exactly impress at the Combine. Claiborne's issue also stemmed from injury, robbing him of his confidence. He certainly showed improvement last year and earned himself a one-year prove it deal to return to the Cowboys, but he still has a way to go. Ramsey shouldn't be judged by Morris Claiborne's record.
The other potential criticism comes from the notion that Ramsey is best suited at safety. You can't truly make that definitive prediction as he's shown some amazing versatility. That versatility to be able to play well in each position is the same that can be said for Byron Jones. The really good secondaries have players like that who can cover multiple duties and it certainly seems like the Cowboys are looking for that. If you look at the interest that they've been rumored to have taken in multiple defensive backs, you can see that they aren't content with what they have.
The list of players is interesting whether it means much or not. Eric Weddle, Leon Hall, Patrick Robinson, Nolan Carroll, and Dashon Goldson all have strength in instincts and have shown playmaking abilities. It leads you to believe that the Cowboys are simply trying to get more talent and instinctual effort out of their secondary. That's a good description as to what Ramsey can bring to this team. They lack a true presence in their secondary and Ramsey could go a long way in solidifying that for them.
Those that aren't sold on the first-round pass rushers can take solace in finding talent with the 34th pick. Guys like Jonathan Bullard, Emmanuel Ogbah, Kevin Dodd and Shilique Calhoun come to mind. Why not shore up that secondary with a dynamic player and use 34 to get more help on the defensive line. In my mind, there isn't much a difference between Joey Bosa and Noah Spence. Trust me, some folks are going to think that I may be spending too much time with Randy Gregory, but I'm not sold on Bosa. As mentioned earlier, he would be a good pick, but I want greatness. Ramsey is closer to greatness than Bosa. Dallas can add some pass rushers in rounds 2-4 that could still put forth a solid rotation. Ramsey is clearly the best defensive back and it's not even close.
The Cowboys need defensive backs with range and physicality. The ability to strike some fear into opponents like the Cardinals and Seahawks have. They already have one amazing athlete in Byron Jones and a feisty but competitively efficient Orlando Scandrick. They are certainly hoping to squeeze more out Morris Claiborne but beyond that, everyone's job is up for grabs. We don't know what the plan will be with Brandon Carr or Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox has played his way to the bench.
They seem to have an awful lot of interest in upgrading their secondary and plan to have a Patrick Robinson in for a visit on Monday. Though they had a solid pass defense in 2015, these coaches and front office personnel see some deficiencies. Above everything else, the need playmakers on the back end, that's precisely why Jalen Ramsey makes so much sense. Just imagine what this defense would look like with him roaming the field, playing zone or pressing against his man. The possibilities are endless.