The combination of Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye have yet to play a single down together in the NFL, but one NFL analyst says they are the best tandem in the NFL.
“A lot of people are going to disagree with me here, but it won't be the first time or the last,” writes Ike Taylor of NFL.com.
Taylor knows a thing or two about playing defensive back in the NFL, having been a 12-year veteran with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He attributes the ranking to the solid play of Ramsey in his rookie year and the stout coverage skills of Bouye, who was an undrafted player out of UCF in 2013, who has had stellar season with the Houston Texans before signing with the Jaguars in free agency.
“Jalen Ramsey is coming off an impressive rookie campaign that landed him among my top 10 cornerbacks. In coverage, Ramsey allowed 48 catches on 90 targets for 703 yards, two TDs, two INTs and a 68.0 passer rating against. He adjusted to the learning curve of playing in the NFL and balled out in the final stretch of the 2016 season,” Taylor explains.
He also finished second in the Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.
Bouye has been part of the Texans’ defense that has been the top of the NFL. Taylor said the 6-foot, 191-pound cornerback allowed a 60.6 passer rating against and racked up 16 passes defensed in his fourth NFL season. Bouye has speed, is consistently close to the receiver and puts himself in good position to make a play on the ball.
“I'm not saying he's going to lead the league in interceptions -- mainly because the Jags play man coverage -- but Bouye will have plenty of opportunities to come down with the ball if and when they do play zone.”
The Jaguars also signed safety Barry Church from Dallas in the offseason and will have Tashaun Gipson at the other safety position – which could mean the Jaguars have one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
In Taylor’s assessment, he ranks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. (and Bradley Roby) of the Denver Broncos, second. Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple (and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) of the New York Giants are third. Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward of the Los Angeles Chargers come in fourth and 5) Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore of the New England Patriots are ranked fifth.