By now, I’m sure most of you have heard the comment that is making waves, not just amongst the National Football League, but now the National Hockey League as well. Jacksonville Jaguars all-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey is no stranger to the limelight, going on a tirade earlier last week naming quarterbacks and what he thinks of them. Tom Brady, “doesn’t suck.” Aaron Rodgers, “doesn’t suck.” Tell us something we don’t know, Jalen.
Carson Wentz, “Will be an MVP.” Ben Roethlisberger, “Decent at best.” The list goes on, and some of the comments are spot on. Wentz me very well be an MVP in the coming years. Rodgers and Brady really don’t suck. Roethlisberger is decent at best? Maybe now, but tell that to his two super bowls in four seasons at the very beginning of his career.
After naming these quarterbacks and telling us what he thinks about them, he went on later in the week to say something even more outrageous.
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 31, 2018
That’s right folks, Jalen Ramsey, with six months of training, could be your next up-and-coming NHL prospect.
Now, excluding the fact that the NHL and NFL are two TOTALLY DIFFERENT SPORTS, I say we take a look at whether or not the 2017 First Team All-Pro has the ability to actually crack an NHL lineup in six months.
It’s very difficult to try and compare stats across sporting lines. What exactly does a pass deflection compare to in the NHL? How about interceptions, forced fumbles, etc…
It’s even harder to try and find a position in hockey that is comparable to what Ramsey plays in the NFL. A cornerback is responsible for reading the quarterbacks mind essentially, making plays based on where he thinks the ball will be thrown.
The best position to compare this set of skills to might be goalie, a big position of need when it comes to the Flyers.
Yes, the Flyers do have a gaggle of prospects, some making the jump to the professional level this year. All that aside, Ramsey’s keen ability to read a quarterback and make plays based on his judgement mirrors what a goalie does. A goalie has to read the shooter’s eyes, make an assumption as to which side and what height the player will be taking his shot at.
Amassing 107 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 31 pass deflections in just two years, not to mention garnering a spot on the pro-bowl roster and adding the all-pro accolade to his resumé, tells most that Ramsey’s reaction time is stout. He knows where to be and when to be there, and knows whether to go for the pick or prevent the receiver from gaining any extra yards in any given situation.
His decision making skills are amongst the best in the game. Those decision making skills, if translated to the NHL, could make him a solid netminder.
NHL goalies come in all shapes and sizes. You have goalies such as Pekka Rinne who stands at 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 216 pounds. You have others like Sergei Bobrovsky, who stand at 6 feet 2 inches and weigh in at 182 pounds. If you take a look at NHL.com’s top 10 goalies for 2018-19 list, you see that only three goaltenders stand at 6 feet 4 inches or above, and all but three of them weigh under 200 pounds.
Jalen Ramsey stands at 6 feet 1 inch, and weighs in at 208 pounds. If you were to average out height and weight of the top ten goaltenders, according to NHL.com, you would find that the average goalie stands at just under 6 feet 3 inches, and weighs in around 205 pounds. Ramsey stands just 2 inches short of the average, but is 3 pounds heavier than the average weight of these ten netminders.
Ramsey fits the bill as a goaltender when it comes to size, even some of his intangibles scream goalie. However, let’s come back down to reality.
Apples and Oranges
On one hand, you have a sport that plays one game every 7 days, depending on Thursday and Sunday night games, for 16 weeks. On the other hand, you have a sport that plays 3-4 games per week on average, from October until April or May, and plays five times the amount of games that the NFL does.
You have a turf field, covered by little rubber turf beads. No, I’m not saying hitting that turf is soft. What I am saying is that compared to a slab of ice that is ¾ of an inch thick and comes in at 16 degrees Fahrenheit, I’d take a fall on the turf 11 out of 10 times.
Job specific, you have a position that entails reading a quarterback and his decision making, making tackles, interceptions, and deflecting passes. Again, on the other hand, you have 12 people on skates, 10 of them vying for a vulcanized piece of rubber at any time, and looking to deck anyone who gets in their way. You have to keep your head up at all times, secure control of the puck, worry about said puck coming at your head at speeds that sometimes exceed 100MPH. You have not just offensive, but defensive responsibilities.
I’m not going to hop up on this soap box and scream that the NHL is a much more difficult league than the NFL. It’s too difficult to compare. What I will say is that the schedule is more grueling, the game is more physical, and as a skater, you have more responsibilities than a cornerback in the NFL.
In six months, there is no possible way for any individual, let alone Jalen Ramsey, to learn a game that every player in it has been mastering since they were barely able to walk. Ramsey knows this. He knows how much time he put in to make it to where he is.
Saying what he said not only shows his ignorance, but also makes it seem like he thinks the NHL is an easier league to succeed in than the NFL. It’s difficult to make it in any professional sport. However, knowing what went into making it pro in one league, making a statement that essentially belittles what others have went through to make it pro in their league is just complete ignorance.
Don’t misunderstand what Ramsey is doing. He is coming off the heels of a tirade for the ages, speaking his mind about every quarterback in the league, and garnering nation-wide attention. This reeks of “attention seeking” behavior. He wants to keep the ball rolling, keep his name on the radar of people like us. Fans, journalists, pop-culture followers alike.
What Ramsey didn’t do, is his homework. Six months of training might be able to get you into your local beer league down in Jacksonville, but it won’t get you into the NHL. Ramsey’s best bet is to stick to what he does best, and that’s defending wideouts and picking off quarterbacks. His chances at making saves and scoring goals at the NHL level are similar to his humble rating on Madden, zero.
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports