Having looked at each of the Jets’ draft picks in detail, we’ve now moved on to discuss each of their undrafted free agent signings. We continue today with a breakdown of Arkansas safety Santos Ramirez.
The 23-year old is listed at 6’2” and 204 pounds and started 34 games in his career with the Razorbacks. He had a career-high 87 tackles in 2018 and totaled three interceptions and five forced fumbles in his career.
Ramirez played cornerback in high school and ended up going to Arkansas as a three-star recruit. He redshirted his first season in 2014.
Over the next four years, Ramirez improved his statistical production year on year. He had started three games as a freshman and seven in his sophomore year, before becoming a full-time starter over his final two seasons.
In his final year, he had a career-high 87 tackles, although, other than a fumble recovery and 0.5 tackles for loss in the season opener, didn’t make any impact plays. Over his first three years, he had racked up 13 passes defensed, three interceptions, two tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.
Ramirez wasn’t invited to the scouting combine and suffered an injury at his pro day. The Jets signed him as an undrafted free agent after he went unselected in the draft.
Now let’s take a look at what Ramirez brings to the table, divided into categories.
Scouting reports suggest Ramirez is limited athletically and lacks range, but his pro day workout got off to a good start with a 38” vertical jump and a 123” broad jump. Unfortunately, he then suffered a hamstring injury while trying to run his 40.
On his film, he does flash some quickness. His speed shows up best when chasing down ball carriers down the field.
Ramirez, who has good size and length, also posted a solid 17 reps in the bench press.
Ramirez played a versatile role in college, which saw him get reps as a deep safety, in the box and matched up in the slot. In 2018, he was the starting free safety for every game other than the last one where he moved to strong safety. However, in 2017, he played the greater percentage of his reps in the slot.
Ramirez was a productive player who made constant contributions in the running game. Even though he usually lined up deep in 2018, that was his most productive season as a tackler.
He does a good job of avoiding blocks but sometimes will take over-aggressive angles or allow a runner to pick up extra yardage at the end of a play.
Ramirez seems to have good positional sense, range and closing speed when ranging deep as his displays here.
When matched up in direct coverage, he can be exploited from time to time, although this particular play was due to him being momentarily confused by the releases out of a bunch set.
His coverage numbers for his first three years weren’t too bad but he gave up a career-worst 71 percent completions when targeted in his senior year. For his career, he gave up 17 yards per catch and seven touchdowns.
As noted, he has some experience as a cornerback and seems to move fluidly in coverage, perhaps as a result of this.
Ramirez had one interception in each of his first three seasons, all of which came as he was playing in center field.
He also shows an ability to jump routes and, as seen above, can break up passes with a hit at the catch point. He had a career high eight pass break-ups in 2017, but none in 2018.
Ramirez is regarded as a hard hitter, but tackling efficiency has been an issue for him over the course of his career. He averaged almost 10 missed tackles per season, with 12 in his senior year.
On this play, he initially fails to make the tackle, but shows good hustle to chase back into the play and force a fumble. This proved to be the turning point in a spectacular come-from-behind win for the Razorbacks.
This play sees Ramirez try to assist his teammate in stopping the runner short of the marker on a short yardage play, only for the runner to slip out of his grasp and fall forward for the first down.
As noted, he will sometimes take an over-aggressive angle, but his bigger issue is that he doesn’t always set himself up to come in low in the open field, which can make him susceptible to having ball carriers bounce off him or drive him back. He’s good at extending himself to make diving tackles in pursuit though.
As noted, Ramirez has a reputation as a big hitter with five forced fumbles in his career. This one came on a 4th down late in a close game to ultimately preserve the win.
Despite his physical play, he was a disciplined player. He only had two defensive penalties in his four-year career at Arkansas.
Ramirez barely ever blitzed and didn’t generated any sacks or pressure in college. He didn’t have any sacks in high school either.
Ramirez has some potential on special teams where he has seen action on coverage units, kick rush units and as a blocker. He had two penalties in his career, the most recent of which was because he was offside on a punt.
In 2016, he had four tackles in kick coverage and he showed some potential in that role in the 2018 game against LSU.
Ramirez is another intelligent player, who graduated a year early and was previously on the academic honor roll.
Scouting reports suggest he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and reads or diagnoses plays well. However, he had a bad blown coverage on this play.
Ramirez is regarded as a good leader, who was a team captain in his last two years. His maturity, physical make-up and toughness have all been praised. He admitted to the media he was disappointed with his own play in 2018, having been a preseason all-SEC third-teamer.
Ramirez seems to have been healthy throughout his career, other than tweaking his hamstring at his pro day.
The Jets are pretty secure at the safety position right now, but Ramirez has experience of playing a versatile role like Jamal Adams, so that will perhaps be the role for which he seeks to be a reserve. The Jets probably would like one of their youngsters to develop into a deep safety so that they can employ Marcus Maye closer to the line of scrimmage in three-safety packages.
Ramirez is a long-shot to make the roster, because although the reserve safeties (Rontez Miles and Doug Middleton) are not really regarded as starter-level players, their status on the roster seems relatively secure.
As with the rest of the undrafted free agents, he will probably need to try and show enough to warrant a spot on the practice squad. That’s possible, if the team believes he has more potential than someone like Brandon Bryant.