NFL Hot Press: Jalen Ramsey Now Favorite for No. 1 Overall Pick

Jalen Ramsey Now Favorite for No. 1 Overall Pick

Updated March 10, 2016
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

In mid-January, sources with the Tennessee Titans said their preference was to trade down from the No. 1 overall pick and target a defensive back like Florida State cornerback/safety Jalen Ramsey. If the Titans were stuck at No. 1, the initial favorite was Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil. This week, sources with the Titans have told that Ramsey is now the favorite to be the No. 1 pick. They love the Seminoles defensive back on and off the field. To be clear, the pick has not been decided, and Tunsil is still in the running, but sources say that Ramsey is now the leading candidate to be the first-overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft.

For months, many around the league thought that Tunsil made the most sense. The Titans do have a good young left tackle in Taylor Lewan, who was taken high in the first round in the 2014 NFL Draft, but Tennessee led the NFL in sacks allowed last year, and they have to protect young franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota. However, Titans sources say they may sign a veteran tackle in free agency to go with Lewan. There are some veteran options available in the form of the Bengals’ Andre Smith, Raiders’ Donald Penn, Seahawks’ Russell Okung, and Steelers’ Kelvin Beachum. If they sign one of those veterans to a quality contract, that would increase the chances of Ramsey being the first pick.

Sources named Tunsil and Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa as being the other contenders for the top pick. In speaking to scouts, general managers and directors from multiple teams, they said Ramsey was phenomenal in the Combine interviews. The Titans feel that Ramsey was an alpha dog on a team filled with alpha dogs in college, and they say that he is an “awesome kid”. Sources say that Tunsil and Bosa did “okay” in the Combine team interview, but they didn’t express the same enthusiasm and fervor for either of them that they did for Ramsey. With Ramsey, they compare him to Richard Sherman and Charles Woodson as a corner and safety, respectively.

Staff at the Titans say that it isn’t settled yet. Tunsil and Ramsey have their pro days at the end of the month, and of course, the pre-draft visits will be a factor as well. Last year, and the year before in December/January, sources at the Buccaneers and Texans told that they had leaders for the No. 1 pick (Jameis Winston, Jadeveon Clowney) and they ended up sticking with those players throughout the lead-up to the draft. In 2013, Kansas City changed late to Eric Fisher, and it appears this year, the Titans are in the midst of a more fluid situation with Ramsey having pulled ahead of Tunsil as the current leader for Tennessee.

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