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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey makes case for top pick in NFL draft

Joe Reedy Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jalen Ramsey is hoping the Tennessee Titans make him the top overall pick in next month’s NFL draft because of his skills and not any hometown bias.

The defensive back had another chance to make his case on Tuesday during Florida State’s pro day. Ramsey, kicker Roberto Aguayo and 14 other Seminoles did position drills in front of representatives from 30 teams.

Aguayo, who is the most accurate kicker in NCAA history with a 96.73 percent conversion rate, also made a favorable impression on scouts and could go as high as the third round.

But Ramsey was the headliner.

His hometown team has the top pick in next month’s NFL draft and was well represented to take another look at Ramsey. Titans head coach Mike Mularkey, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and general manager Jon Robinson were all in attendance.

Ramsey grew up in Smyrna, Tennessee, which is 25 miles south of Nashville. He’s trying to do something that hasn’t been done in 60 years – become the first defensive back taken with the top overall pick.

The last time that happened was 1956, when the top overall pick was Gary Glick. It’s never happened since the AFL-NFL common draft in 1967. The highest defensive back taken since then was Eric Turner, who the Cleveland Browns selected with the second overall pick in 1991.

“I want them to pick me because I’m the best player in the draft, not because I’m from Tennessee. I feel like I am and continue to show it,” Ramsey said about going first. “I’ve had the resume for it. You can watch my game film.”

During last month’s combine, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound Ramsey ran a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash while having the top position performances in the vertical jump (41 1/2 inches) and broad jump (11-foot-3). He only did defensive back workouts on Tuesday.

Ramsey, who was a second-team selection to The Associated Press All-America team the past two seasons, is intriguing because of his versatility in the defensive backfield. He started 25 games at safety and 16 at cornerback. Last season at corner Ramsey finished with 52 tackles, including 3 1/2 for loss and a team-high 10 pass breakups.

“He is very capable of being the first pick and you can justify it because of the versatility he brings to the defensive side of the football because of the way the game is played,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He can play corner and match up against the big receivers, he can play a play tight end and tackle and he can play a back out of the backfield. He’s also a tremendous blitzer.”

Ramsey said his preference is to play cornerback but that he would play wherever he is the best fit.

“I think all of my traits are equally a reason for that success,” Ramsey said. “I’m big. I’m strong. I’m fast. I have good hips. I have good footwork. I’m always trying to perfect my craft, and at the end of the day, I’m just a competitor.”

The Browns, who have the second pick, sent just a scout while San Diego Chargers defensive backs coach Ron Milus ran the position drill. Ramsey said he has had discussions with all the teams picking in the top five. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin was also in attendance.

If Ramsey did end up with the Titans, Florida State would be the first school since Southern California in 1969 to have players selected first overall in consecutive years. Offensive tackle Ron Yary was picked by the Vikings in 1968 and running back O.J. Simpson was chosen by the Bills the following year.

Ramsey said he has talked to Jameis Winston, who was taken first by Tampa Bay last year, about the entire draft process and how to approach his upcoming workouts.

Fisher said having the top pick two years straight would be a benefit his program.

“It would show we are evaluating the right guys but we are doing the right things internally to help these guys develop,” he said. “At the end of the day the kids have to do it but we also have the right program and are asking them to do the right things.”