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Jaguars impressed with physicality of Ramsey

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(Associated Press)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When asked about Jalen Ramsey’s debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash couldn’t help but smile. After sitting out the first preseason game against the New York Jets, Ramsey played 17 snaps against Tampa and made a big impression on Wash.

“He can run pretty much with anyone in the league; we knew that when we drafted him. His competitive nature, he’s a guy that works in the classroom, works on the field, and really excels during games. We’re very excited about him.”

Through the first couple weeks of training camp, Ramsey has looked the part. During practices he’s relished the opportunity to compete against wide receiver Allen Robinson. There won’t be too many receivers that Ramsey faces on Sunday’s that will provide more of a challenge than Robinson.

There’s no question that Ramsey was drafted No. 5 overall because of his coverage skills. Against Tampa, he wasn’t targeted often in the passing game, but as Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley routinely says “he showed up on tape” in the run game. It’s not often that cornerbacks are credited with a six-yard tackle for loss, like the one the Florida State product made on Saturday night.

“We were excited just how physical he played on that snap,” said Wash. “He did not come up there and try to dodge the offensive lineman, and got himself in position to make the play. He’s not scared to put his face on people and that is something that’s important to us. We want to be known as a physical defense not only from the front seven, but our back end also. So we were excited about that play.”

When the Jaguars originally drafted Ramsey their plan was for him to learn one position. He’s been able to pick up the defense so fast that Wash and the rest of the defensive staff feel comfortable moving their first-round pick all over the field. Against Tampa, Ramsey started the game playing on the perimeter at cornerback, but in multiple receiver formations he shifted inside to nickel cornerback.

At 6’1” and close to 200 pounds, Ramsey has the size of a safety and that allows him to be even more aggressive in the run game.  

“They ran power right at him against Tampa and he came in there and knife-tackled the back,” said Wash. “He did not turn the cheek at all. We’re very excited about that. He is our deuce corner. He is our bigger corner. He is our goal-line corner. That type of body style and his mental makeup. He can learn all those different positions. We are very excited about Jalen.”