Jalen Ramsey vs. Vernon Hargreaves: NFL Draft Stock Comparison

    Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves' NFL Draft stocks match up favorably, but which one will be first off the board on April 28?

    March 3, 2016

    Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves’ NFL Draft stocks match up favorably, but which one will be first off the board on April 28?

    It’s more than just a battle to be the first defensive back taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

    This is war between Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves III. 
    The Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles have gone toe-to-toe for many years, and they’ve both produced a boatload of NFL prospects over the years. 
    Florida State has the unique advantage of claiming Deion Sanders, arguably the greatest cornerback to ever play in the NFL. Florida, on the other hand, has been more about quantity in recent years. Joe Haden, Reggie Nelson, Major Wright, Will Hill, Matt Elam … are all part of the reason the Gators are considered by some to be “D.B.U.”
    Only one player can win the individual head-to-head battle. Let’s break down their NFL Draft stocks and see how they’re trending following the combine.



    Hargreaves missed two games in 2015 for Jim McElwain’s Gators. The star cornerback was ruled out just before kickoff in the East Carolina game because he tweaked a leg injury two days before. Prior to that missed game against the Pirates, Hargreaves had made 23 consecutive starts dating back to his freshman year. His junior season was marked with nagging injuries, though they didn’t really hamper production.


    Health has never been a big issue for Ramsey. During his three years in Tallahassee, the playmaking defensive back started in all 41 games he played for the Seminoles. That’s a factor often overlooked when breaking down Ramsey’s draft profile. Sure, he’s supremely talented, but he’s also proven he can stay on the field. More importantly, he plays full speed as opposed to playing not to get hurt, as many players do when eyeing the NFL Draft. 


    There is a clear difference in size when standing Hargreaves next to Ramsey. That’s the biggest question about the former Gator: Can he match up with NFL wide receivers? He made it clear he’s able to do it, even comparing himself to NFL cornerback Brent Grimes in the process. Ramsey has the advantage in every category, which is why there’s buzz around him switching to free safety. He has the size to do so.


    Both have been automatic for their respective teams over the last three years. In 2015, Ramsey was a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. He was also a consensus All-American. Hargreaves’ resume is just as impressive. He earned All-SEC honors in all three years and was an All-American in 2014 and 2015. 

    Player Comparisons


    Film on Hargreaves is nearly identical to tape on former Gators cornerback: Joe Haden. Both were fundamentally sound coming out of Florida with an ability to explode out of breaks and attack the ball in the air. Plus, they’re both a bit “undersized,” which is interesting because most people forget how small Haden is (5-foot-11, 190lbs) when looking at his production in the pros.


    Jalen Ramsey’s most attractive quality is his versatility. As a cornerback, he’s not as refined as Hargreaves; however, as a safety Ramsey is dangerous. He has the length and athleticism to match up with anyone in the slot. He can drop back and play center field, and he’s instinctive with the ball in the air. Ramsey’s size and playmaking ability are reminiscent of Patrick Peterson, which will bode well for his wallet if he turns out to be as good as the Arizona Cardinals cornerback.

    Best Team Fits


    There are a few teams in need of a lockdown cornerback, and all of them have Hargreaves on their radar. The Jaguars love Hargreaves, but he’s merely a secondary option if Ramsey doesn’t fall to them at No. 5. Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Miami also have needs at cornerback. The Dolphins may be cutting ties with Brent Grimes soon, which would increase their demand. The Ravens want someone to pair with Jimmy Smith, and the Bucs want a ballhawk in the secondary, be it Ramsey or Hargreaves.


    Ramsey is so dynamic that all 32 teams in the league could find a starting spot for him on the roster. That said, the three best fits would be the Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

    Dallas took a big swing on Morris Claiborne with the No. 6 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and it came up empty. Claiborne hasn’t been the safety Jerry Jones thought he was getting, but maybe Ramsey is. 

    Jacksonville and Tampa Bay both need playmakers on defense. Gus Bradley would love to plug Ramsey in as the anchor of the secondary with an ability to make plays in the second level while last year’s first-round pick Dante Fowler Jr. rushes the passer. Tampa Bay would love to combine Ramsey with Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David.   


    Jalen Ramsey – No. 4 overall, Dallas Cowboys

    Vernon Hargreaves III – No. 9 overall, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    MORE: What NFL Teams Will Land Ezekiel Elliott And Derrick Henry?


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