Jalen Ramsey has built his NFL career taking away the opponent’s best wide receiving option, tangling with 1,000-yard wideouts and Pro Bowlers over the years and earning “best cornerback in the game” honors by multiple outlets.
But even Ramsey himself knows that covering the league’s best targets for the Los Angeles Rams and during his time in Jacksonville isn’t an easy task. Ramsey went on the “Million Dollaz Worth of Game” podcast on Sunday to reveal the hardest WR’s he’s ever gone against.
To no one’s surprise, one of his selections came from the NFC West who also was in the AFC South with him. One is a tall target he tried to court to L.A. during the offseason. But the other is considered a surprise choice given that player’s recent injury history and lack of lengthy history in going against each other.
‘D-Hop’ First on Ramsey’s List
The first name Ramsey mentioned: De’Andre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals.
Ramsey and “D-Hop” have a lengthy history against one another. The two have crossed paths since 2016 when the Florida State standout came to the league. The two have met seven times in the AFC South when Hopkins was with the Houston Texans and Ramsey was locking things down for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Hopkins had his struggles versus Ramsey: Only producing one 100-yard outing with Ramsey responsible for him. However, Hopkins’ Texan teams went 5-2 against Ramsey and the Jags, plus Ramsey respects the fact Hopkins always produced astronomical numbers with a different quarterback each time.
“The reason I say yeah is because D-Hop done had 20 different quarterbacks and put up the same numbers year after year after year,” he said. “There’s some receivers who you’re like, ‘Dawg, without that quarterback, I don’t know if he could do what he’s doing. Or without that connection, I don’t know if he could do what he’s doing.’ He was in Houston, he had a thousand different quarterbacks and he was putting up numbers every year. Then he had Deshaun (Watson) for a couple years and he was putting up stupid numbers. Then he got Kyler (Murray) and put up stupid numbers again. So it’s like, I’ve got to respect that.”
And Hopkins is one of the few receivers to ever go for at least 100 yards against him, which was in year three for Ramsey. Yet, Hopkins again has had his troubles with the former FSU Seminole, including his first season in Arizona.
Beckham Comes in at No. 2
Odell Beckham Jr. was Ramsey’s second choice.
The two met only once during Ramsey’s Jacksonville days: A 2018 meeting when Beckham caught 11 passes for 111 yards, but was held out of the end zone in the 20-15 loss. Beckham was moved around that afternoon and also encountered Jacksonville’s opposite CB A.J. Bouye. Still, Ramsey received plenty of reps versus Beckham.
“Personally, off of people I’ve played, I got Odell. When Odell’s healthy and he’s on his s***, he’s tough, for real,” Ramsey explained. “He’s just fast, twitchy, runs good routes, got great hands. I like his game.”
Jones is the Third Hardest Matchup
Like Beckham, Julio Jones and Ramsey have crossed paths only once. But the 2019 meeting was enough for the Ram to place the former Atlanta Falcon as the third hardest WR he’s gone against.
“It’s tough. I’ve probably got Julio. Julio can do it all,” Ramsey said. “He’s fast, he’s big, runs good routes, catch, run after the catch. He can do it all. When Julio’s healthy, he a dawg, for sure.”
Ramsey’s first game as a Ram was against Jones’ Falcons. Of course, Ramsey tried to become teammates with the multiple Pro Bowl WR by doing Twitter recruiting around Memorial Day.
Since Jones is now a Tennessee Titan, the two will meet again on November 7 in Inglewood.
But in conclusion, even a brash lockdown cornerback acknowledges that some WR’s are built different and pose as a great challenge. Ramsey had to clearly elevate his game against this trio.