General Manager Chris Grier and the Miami Dolphins are making a habit out of importing superstars to South Florida. The latest blue-chip talent to arrive in Miami Gardens is decorated cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Here are five things to know about Miami's new jack-of-all-trades in the defensive backfield.
1. The Resume
Any way you slice it, Ramsey's track record speaks for itself. A three-time first-team All-Pro, the fifth-overall pick in the 2016 Draft has been voted to the Pro Bowl in each of the last six seasons. He's intercepted 19 passes (20 if you include the postseason), has 92 passes defended, and forced six fumbles.
The counting stats detail Ramsey's 452 combined career tackles, but the advanced metrics display his true value in bringing down ball carriers. Since entering the league in 2016, no cornerback has a lower missed tackle rate (8.8 percent), according to Pro Football Focus.
The story is the same through the air. Opposing quarterbacks have just an 80.8 passer rating when targeting the 6-1, 208-pound cornerback with a penchant for physical play. Excelling in multiple defensive systems, perhaps Ramsey's best year came under a defensive coordinator bred from the Vic Fangio tree. Under Brandon Staley in 2020, Ramsey was named first-team All-Pro after allowing just 40 receptions on 75 targets (53.3 percent). He was in coverage on 684 snaps that season and permitted only 396 yards – good for .58 yards per coverage snap. That's the lowest in the Pro Football Focus era (dates back to 2012).
2. The Fit
The truth is that Ramsey is a fit in any defensive scheme. Great players are transcendent that way. He's played on the perimeter and in the slot. He's played press, and he's played off. His role has changed over the years, but his production has not.
Playing in the aforementioned Staley scheme – where the core principles stem from his time working under Fangio during Staley's first NFL job in Chicago – Ramsey was the catalyst. He operated largely in the star position. The idea is to use an athlete like Ramsey to dictate matchups and prevent the offense from neglecting his presence.
Now we don't know how Fangio plans to use Ramsey yet in Miami. But he joins a defense chock-full of playmakers and ball hawks.
Ramsey's tape consistently shows him jumping the route of a receiver he wasn't originally covering, and it usually produces a game-changing play. His recognition skills and the way he studies and prepares all puts him in position to consistently makes plays on the football.
Adding that skillset to a backfield that features Xavien Howard, Jevon Holland, Brandon Jones, Kader Kohou, and others has to excite Fangio in his first year with the team.
3. Marrying the Rush to the Coverage
Ramsey's impact often reaches all 11 players on defense. Last year, the Dolphins finished third in ESPN's pass rush win rate, but the football was often out before the likes of Jaelan Phillips, Bradley Chubb, Christian Wilkins, and friends could finish the sack. Adding Ramsey to bolster the coverage could force opposing quarterbacks to take longer to find an open man, increasing the odds of a sack.
The Dolphins registered 40 sacks in 2022, but the potential for more exists. Per Pro Football Focus, Miami logged 338 QB pressures. That means that 298 pressures were not converted to sacks. The impact of potentially increasing the time the quarterback holds the ball even by another tenth of a second could make a massive difference.
4. Mr. Reliable
Few teams endured worse injury luck a year ago than the Miami Dolphins, particularly at the cornerback position. Enter Ramsey. He averages just under 1,100 snaps played per year. The only season he did not eclipse 1,000 snaps played was 2019 when he was traded from Jacksonville to the Rams for two first-round draft picks. Since the trade to Los Angeles, Ramsey logged seasons with 1,088, 1,269, and 1,078 total snaps in the 2020-2022 seasons.
5. Praying to Get to Miami
The Dolphins are becoming a destination. Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, Vic Fangio, and now Jalen Ramsey are among the notable names in the last two offseasons who chose the Dolphins.
For Ramsey, he took to social media to express the happiness that ensued following the trade to Miami.
NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe caught up with Ramsey at the HBCU Battle of the Brains event on Sunday just moments after the trade was reported. He asked the new Miami corner what the Dolphins are getting.
"A leader," Ramsey said. "One of the biggest competitors ever. I'm going to make my teammates better. All the guys that I've got around me; X-Man (Xavien Howard), Jevon (Holland), the defensive line, which you know is going crazy with Christian (Wilkins). Then, offense, you already know what they're talking about with Tyreek (Hill), Jaylen (Waddle), and Tua (Tagovailoa). It's going to be fun. It's going to be exciting, but we're ready to get to work."
For more on the Jalen Ramsey acquisition, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.