Jalen Ramsey of the Los Angeles Rams is one of the most polarizing players in all of football - and it’s been that way since he joined the NFL in 2016.
The word generational gets used far too often in conversations surrounding top draft picks, but Ramsey fit the bill as well as cornerback from recent drafts. Combined with a rare combination of size and athleticism, the Florida State product also has the savvy required to rotate between positions in the secondary. While most corners in the NFL can cover, Ramsey is also willing to stick his nose in the run game and make impact plays where others usually cower or make a “business decision”.
But when you’re at the top of your profession others will try to tear you down, and fans of the NFL have been rooting for Ramsey to fail for years now.
His infamy reached new heights ahead of the 2018 season when Ramsey gave no-holds-barred takes on most quarterbacks around the league to GQ Magazine.
On Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills:
I think Allen is trash. I don’t care what nobody say. He’s trash. And it’s gonna show too. That’s a stupid draft pick to me. We play them this year, and I’m excited as hell. I hope he’s their starting quarterback. He played at Wyoming. Every time they played a big school—like, they played Iowa State, which is not a big school in my opinion because I went to Florida State, and he threw five interceptions, and they lost by a couple touchdowns or something like that.✞ He never beat a big school. If you look at his games against big schools, it was always hella interceptions, hella turnovers. It’s like: Yo, if you’re this good, why couldn’t you do better? He fits that mold, he’s a big, tall quarterback. Big arm, supposedly. I don’t see it, personally.
On then-Rams QB and future teammate Jared Goff:
Jared Goff, he’s average to above average. He reminds me of Jimmy Garoppolo a little bit. Year one, he wasn’t good. He wasn’t even good enough to earn his own starting role. Like, if you the number one pick, you expected to start now. Period. He wasn’t ready to do that. He wasn’t able to do that. Then when he did get in, he didn’t really do that good. But in his second year, they got a new offensive coordinator. Your offensive coordinator is just your brainiac. When we played them, it felt like his offensive coordinator was drawing up perfect plays and then he was hitting the open man. For what his team ask him to do, yeah, he’s good.
While Ramsey forces interceptions and incompletions at a rate highest among the NFL’s most elite corners, fans on Twitter rush to point out any catch made against the defensive star. It’s not “what a great play by Chris Olave” or “Ja’Marr Chase is one of the best receivers in the league: - it’s “Wow, Jalen Ramsey is burnt toast”.
Did Ramsey have an up-and-down season in 2022? Absolutely.
But we fail to take the high degree of difficulty of the role he’s asked to play into consideration with much nuance. Ramsey is asked to matchup against the other team’s best receiver as much as anyone. The Rams also deploy him in a way that is intended to affect as many offensive plays as possible, and this means more targets headed his way. Overall this approach is better than sticking Ramsey on one side of the field and leaving him there, but targeting him often means quarterbacks are less afraid to look in his direction. Perhaps the issue is a poor supporting cast, as the Rams didn’t have a true number two corner at any point after losing Darious Williams to the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency.
Jalen Ramsey is BURNT TOAST pic.twitter.com/w5EEyqv6vq— BetMGM (@BetMGM) November 20, 2022
Rarely see Jalen Ramsey get burnt down the field like this.. pic.twitter.com/0hCmSueqwh— Adam (@SmartfootbalI) February 14, 2022
But now Ramsey is one of the hottest names on the trade market, and while it is not clear whether the Rams intend to move him ahead of the 2023 season, fans clamor for him to join their team - the same fans that rush to social media to share GIF’s of burnt toast each time Ramsey gives up a reception.
It’s true that Ramsey would make any team that he joins immediately better, but that’s exactly why the Rams shouldn’t move on from the star corner... unless they have an immediate plan to replace his production. LA cannot run into next season with Robert Rochell, Cobie Durant, and Derion Kendrick atop the depth chart, but perhaps they could divvy out Ramsey’s salary cap allotment to several mid-level players and replace the star by committee.
While Ramsey is still one of the most notorious defenders in the NFL, if he were truly on the trade block there would likely be 31 other teams interested in acquiring his services. Fans who maligned him for years would quickly celebrate him and be excited for him to don their uniform.
Everybody hates Jalen Ramsey - until he’s about to join your team.
If the Steelers trade for Jalen Ramsey I’m buying his jersey immediately— Najee Best RB (@brody_demuth) February 10, 2023
If Jalen Ramsey is available for a trade, I want the Cowboys to trade their first or second round pick.— Gosu (@gosu984) February 17, 2023
It’s dumb that I see #Steelers fans not wanting to trade 32 for Ramsey and take a rookie CB. Ummmmm Ramsey is a proven all pro who’s 28 years old. Don’t care about the contract. Give me that all day. #HereWeGo— Bucco Burner (@buccoburners) February 17, 2023
Trending: #Lions WR Amon Ra St Brown is pushing for Jalen Ramsey to come to Detroit if he’s released— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) February 20, 2023
“Jalen, if you can hear this, I know you played with [Jared] Goff before. Detroit might seem like a landing spot, my guy. Talk to me, talk to me.” pic.twitter.com/hV6KbVfLLH