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Jalen Ramsey named PFF’s top run defender at any position

Ramsey gets his due for run defense

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Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Cornerbacks are only ever judged for their pass defense, at least outside of NFL organizations in the public eye, but it takes all 11 players to stop the run. Well, Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey has taken criticism in the last few months for allowing touchdowns in the passing game but now he’s getting credit for his run defense.

A lot of credit. Not just for being L.A.’s best run defender out of 11 players on their defense, but also the best out of any player on any defense. ProFootballFocus wrote some awards for the 2022 season and Ramsey was named the best run defender in the entire NFL.

Jalen Ramsey was good in coverage this season, with occasional games of elite play, but he was on another level to any other cornerback in the game in run defense. Ramsey’s ability to impact the run game from his alignment is unrivaled, and he forced two fumbles in the run game, as well.

We typically think of run defense as a job for defensive tackles and linebackers, but no player was as good in that area as Ramsey from his unusual role within the Rams’ defense.

Ramsey has intercepted eight passes in the last two seasons, his most over any two-year period in a borderline Hall of Fame career, but he’s also been one of the best tacklers in the NFL at cornerback or anywhere else. Ramsey made 88 tackles in 2022 with only three missed tackles, an elite rate of 3.3%.

Among cornerbacks, only L’Jarius Snead, Taron Johnson, and Desmond King had more tackles. Only Johnson had a better missed tackle percentage than Ramsey, missing three tackles with 90 made tackles. So they’re basically one-to-one, but Ramsey is a superior coverage corner and pass defender. Ramsey also had two sacks.

L.A. has an interesting to decision to make with Jalen Ramsey. They could either restructure his contract to save cap space, they could entertain trade offers, or they could do nothing. The odds are in favor of doing nothing and keeping Ramsey’s five-year, $100 million contract as is, in large part because of how well-rounded and complete he’s been not just as a cornerback.

But as a defensive player. One of the best defensive players.

Bobby Wagner was one of two honorable mentions below Ramsey for run defense.