NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Jalen Ramsey is the smart pick for the Titans with the No.1 pick, because he's the best fit. At least that's the opinion of Pro Football Focus senior draft analyst Steve Palazzolo.
"The more I watch him, I see a guy that's an excellent zone player, and I think he has such athleticism and range that he just compresses the field when playing zone,'' Palazzolo said of Ramsey, a defensive back from Florida State. "And then he has the size and length and athleticism to develop into a great press-man corner. I don't think he is there yet. He really had only one true year of being that outside cornerback type of player, but when you watch and see how he plays the run, the way he blitzes, how ferocious he attacks screens, how tough he plays.
"He reminds me of that middle-of-career Charles Woodson, where Woodson went to Green Bay and played some slot and played some free safety and played some corner. He was like an extra linebacker in the box because he brought so much versatility to the defense. I just think that would be a great asset for any D.
"That's why I go Ramsey. I just think Ramsey provides the best value for the Titans because he can do so much, and then the upside is he becomes one of the best corners in the league. But I think the floor is really high for him, too. I think the floor is he's that versatile guy who can do a whole lot of different things really well. I just think he's the best fit for (the Titans)."
Palazzolo made his comments on a conference call on Wednesday. He recently put out another mock draft, and in it has the Titans tabbing Ramsey first overall.
His explanation: In Mock Draft 4.0, Ramsey grabbed the top spot and he remains the pick for the Titans. He's an excellent all-around player, capable of playing underneath zone coverage while providing the best run support in the draft of any cornerback. The upside is what separates Ramsey. He has the size and athleticism to develop into a top man-coverage corner, but he's not there yet, and at worst, he's a versatile zone/man corner that's also capable of playing free safety. Ramsey gives the Titans a lot of options on defense.
Pro Football Focus graded every player on every play of all games involving at least one FBS opponent for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
PFF has Ohio State defensive lineman Joey Bosa ranked No.1 overall its draft board, with Oregon defensive lineman DeForest Buckner ranked No.2. Ramsey is the third-rated player on the list. Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil is the fifth-rated player on PFF's list, directly behind Cal quarterback Jared Goff.
Taylor Lewan, a first-round pick by the Titans in 2014, was the only one of the team's offensive lineman with a positive overall grade in 2015, according to PFF. Lewan, who started 15 games at left tackle last season, ended 2015 as PFF's 12th-ranked tackle, with an overall grade of 83.3.
Palazzolo said Tunsil graded well for PFF, and he believes he'll be a good pro after playing a rugged schedule. But he also believes Lewan is capable at left tackle and said he values other positions in the draft higher.
"I do think Taylor is an average to better-than-average tackle,'' Palazzolo. "But a lot of this is my own philosophy. From a grading standpoint, Ramsey and Joey Bosa and DeForest Buckner were all the class of this draft class, along with Jared Goff. Tunsil was very good, up there.
"But my own personal philosophy on it is I don't think you have to have a great left tackle, and I'd completely understand if they did grab Tunsil he is a very good player, and put Lewan over to the right side and you'd potentially have a great offensive line."
"But I just think the way the NFL is moving with a short passing game, I think that fits (Marcus) Mariota's style, and I think you can protect a sub-par offensive line more than ever. I understand what happened last year, he did get killed at times. But my thing is at that point in the draft I want to get a playmaker, so I want to get a Jalen Ramsey, a DeForest Buckner, or a Joey Bosa and then when I looked at it from a scheme standpoint Bosa might not be a perfect fit. Bucker would be a perfect fit. But I just lean Ramsey."
Defensive back Jalen Ramsey performs drills during Florida State's NFL Pro Day on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photos)