With rookie mini-camps beginning for all three state NFL teams on Friday, it was intriguing to see all of their number one picks out on the field in their new colors and jerseys. And, in the case of two of them, they’ve had to go to a different number than what they wore in college.
First, Jaguars #7 overall pick, Edge rusher Josh Allen of Kentucky, will get to keep his number 41 for 2019. The man who led the SEC in sacks in 2018 was doing so in a bit of an odd number, as that is usually reserved for safeties or even running backs.
Still, here was a quick glimpse of Allen in that number making his way out to the Jags rookie camp practice Friday at TIAA Bank field:
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) May 10, 2019
Allen is expected to complement Yannick ngakoue and coleus Campbell along the Jaguar defensive front.
Meanwhile in Tampa, the 5th overall pick, LSU linebacker Devin White made his first appearance on the Buccaneers practice facility field. And he did so sporting a brand new number 45 Jersey instead of his purple and gold LSU “40” that he wore the last three seasons.
Any fan of the Buccaneers knows that the number 40 belongs to one of the most popular players in franchise history in the “A train,” Mike Alstott. The Buccaneers bulldozing fullback holds the team record for rushing touchdowns and was one of the more iconic short-yardage rushers of the last 40 years in the NFL.
White told the media today after the practice that he respects and understands why the Buccaneers number 40 belongs to Alstott:
“The minute I put my cleats on and walked out to this field, it was like heaven. I was so happy, I was loud, I was running around trying to bring energy to the guys."
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) May 10, 2019
Interestingly also, White’s number is the reversal of the other Buccaneers inside linebacker and former Pro bowler, Lavonte David, who wears number 54. David will be mentoring White in the middle of a brand new defense being installed by Todd Bowles.
Finally, in South Florida, when Dolphins number one pick Christian Wilkins stepped out onto the field in Davie for rookie mini-camp today, he did so sporting number 97.
Rookie minicamp day 1️⃣
Let’s get it‼️ pic.twitter.com/X9VOsTtlzE
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 10, 2019
Wilkins ,who wore number 42 throughout his career as a defensive lineman at Clemson went with a more appropriate number for a guy who’s going to play “in the trenches” in the pros.
Wilkins definitely has a championship pedigree having won the title last season with his teammates in their blowout win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game. And, whether he’s wearing 42, 97 or 00, the Dolphins and coach Brian Flores are hoping that he will become a force in the middle of their defense for years to come.
An interesting tidbit on Wilkins choosing 97 is that the first ever Dolphin to wear that number was John Bosa, former top pick in 1987. And as you probably know by now, his sons Joey and Nick have each been drafted in the first round by the Chargers and the 49ers, too.
Jaguars taking strange risk with playing Jalen Ramsey Thursday
As the Jaguars get set to try to win their first game of the season on Thursday night against rival Tennessee, the dominant story line will be about DB Jalen Ramsey and his status with the team. Further and most importantly, if the team does indeed intend to trade him as soon as Friday, why is he even playing in the game?
As for that, we wrote yesterday that Ramsey is still on the Jaguars roster and expected to not only be active, but start in tonight’s game. This despite numerous reports since Sunday, that he wants to be traded, and the team is actively shopping him to the first takeer that will give them at least one number one pick in return.
Importantly, the front office has not denied that they’re trying to move the disgruntled former Pro Bowl corner, you can only take that to mean: they are trying to pull off a trade.
So it raises the very valid dilemma of: playing arguably your best player in the third game of the year, but also the realistic possibility that Ramsey could somehow hurt himself in the game. And while a serious injury isn’t likely, something slight like a groin or hamstring injury could come from playing in this game.
Another very valid point is that if the Jaguars could not make a trade in the last 48 hours or so for Ramsey, are they really going to get more value by trading him Friday, this weekend or next Monday?
So, here we go with the team taking what appears to be an unnecessary risk with a player who obviously privately has made it clear he wants out of North Florida.
Of course the other possible part of this is; the VP of football Tom Coughlin is willing to “play poker,” for now, with the other teams in the league that are pursuing Ramsey and might even wait another week or two before pulling the trigger.
After all the Jaguars have until October trading deadline to find the best deal possible.
However, the argument against that is that Ramsey could become a bigger distraction than what he already has and cause more problems than he already has behind the scenes for the team.
It certainly is a dilemma.
And it’s one that will play out Thursday on National TV, if and when Ramsey is out there running around, while the team is trying to deal him somewhere else, maybe as soon as the weekend.
Jaguars coach Marrone confirms Jalen Ramsey will play Thursday
Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey told the media on Tuesday that, as long as he was going to be with the Jaguars he was going to give it his all. And, that will now include the Thursday night game with the Tennessee Titans.
After speculation that Ramsey might be traded prior to the showdown with the Titans at TIAA Bank Field, Ramsey not only participated in the Wednesday walk through practice with his teammates, but coach Doug Marrone announced after practice that he will be playing in the game Thursday night:
Coach Doug Marrone said that Jalen Ramsey will be suited up tomorrow. Says “Jalen and I have always had a good open relationship… we sat down yesterday and talked about what went on with him and I… that’s behind us right now…” Says Jalen is focused on playing tomorrow.
— Tiffany Blackmon (@tiffblackmon) September 18, 2019
So, Ramsey will at least be with the Jaguars for a few more days. Speculation continues to run rampant that Jacksonville will complete a trade for Ramsey maybe, as soon as Friday after the game.
Earlier the day ESPN Jaguars reporter Mike DiRocco reported that because Ramsey was on the Jaguars roster still at the end of business on Tuesday (or 48 hours before game time) that Jacksonville would still be obligated to pay him for this week
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport also says the Jaguars are holding firm in their belief that they can get two future number one picks in exchange for Ramsey.
However, that would be highly unlikely, as most teams know the Jacksonville is looking to rid themselves of the defensive back. And, Miami trading number one pick Minkah Fitzpatrick earlier in the week for a single number one pick with a swap of other mid round draft picks this year and next year, seems to have set the market.
This is particularly because, Fitzpatrick is still relatively inexpensive for the rest of this season and the next two years. However, Ramsey in the final year of his deal and if the team trading for him assumes his fifth year option his price tag, it will Skyrocket to a $13.7 million salary next year.
There is a further complication that Ramsey might reject wanting to sign a long-term deal with that team that acquires him and therefore, he essentially becomes a rental player for the remainder of this year.
Marrone further said that he spoke to Ramsey after his Tuesday news conference and team practice and they they were ready to go with Thursday’s game. The Jags are 0-2 and already in a “must win” mode for the NFC South early.
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