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2023 NFL Draft Profile: Jose Ramirez, EDGE, Eastern Michigan

Ramirez showed a high ceiling in 2021, and burst right through it in 2022 en route to becoming an All-American prospect.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 16 Eastern Michigan at Kent State Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Getting to this point has been a journey and a half for Eastern Michigan star, Jose Ramirez. Starting off as a three-star recruit, Ramirez committed to play for the Arizona Wildcats. After not appearing in any games as a freshman in the 2017 season, Ramirez took the JUCO route, transferring to Riverside City Community College.

At Riverside City CC, Ramirez dominated. He accounted for 44 tackles, eight sacks, and added a forced fumble. After just one year, Ramirez made the jump back to the FBS level and landed in Ypsilanti. In his first year at EMU, he appeared in just four games. Then, with all of the COVID-19 chaos, Ramirez broke out.

In the 2020 season, Ramirez appeared in all six games and recorded 27 tackles, 2.5 for loss, two sacks, and added a forced fumble in the win over Western Michigan. That win was the game that really put Ramirez’s name on the map as that was when he notched that pair of sacks.

The following year, Ramirez showed the nation just what he could do when given a full season to work with. On the year, the edge rusher terrorized quarterbacks to the tune of 62 tackles, 11 for loss, and 6.5 sacks. He also added four pass deflections and a pair of forced fumbles. He recorded at least a half sack in nine of the 13 games he appeared.

The true highlight of his season was in the win over Toledo. There, he ended up with a season-high 10 tackles, three for loss, and a pair of sacks. That forced fumble was crucial in the team’s victory as it came in the 3rd quarter and the Eagles' offense scored to make it a 45-28 game at the time.

His expectations were sky-high in 2022 and yet, he surpassed them. Ramirez capped off the year with 66 tackles, 19.5 for loss, 12 sacks, two pass deflections, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Those 19.5 TFLs were best in the MAC and fourth-best in the nation. By far, his best game was, yet again, against Western Michigan where he dominated. He managed just six tackles... but was massively efficient, with four sacks and a forced fumble.

His 2022 efforts were enough to earn him MAC Defensive Player of the Year, placement on the first-team all-MAC roster and an All-American award. He was one of just four former MAC standouts to get an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine. Now, he will have to hope that his workouts were enough to have his name called at the end of this month.

The first thing that stands out about Ramirez is his reaction off the ball. He’s able to time up the snap incredibly well and was a massive reason for his ridiculous production over the last two years.

In addition to his quick get-off, Ramirez has great length and uses it to his advantage. Here in his massive game against WMU, Ramirez perfectly times the snap and establishes himself. He engaged the right tackle and keeps him off of him with an incredibly strong stiff right arm all while bull-rushing his way to the quarterback. EMU was able to just rush three on this play because they knew they had a massive mismatch on the outside with Ramirez.

That quick get-off makes tackles try to overcompensate. Linemen who have done their homework knew that Ramirez was quick off the ball and often knew that they could get beat to the edge, hence they try to kick out wider than usual and get in the way. That results in Ramirez using that to his advantage.

In this rep from the Shrine Bowl, Ramirez gets that quick jump on his lineman. The tackle jumps out wide to compensate and jumps inside with a nasty swim move for an easy sack in the rep.

Another strength of his to go with his quick get-off is this dip/rip technique he used during the Shrine Bowl. It’s hard enough holding Ramirez at bay when he’s in the backfield at the snap, it’s even harder when he makes himself skinny and the tackle’s only hope is to hold. Here, the tackle doesn’t hold, tries to recover but only gets a hold of Ramirez’s arm, and Ramirez is able to get the strip sack.

Also evident in this clip is Ramirez’s ability to play on both the right and left side of the ball. Some edge rushers prefer to stick to one side but Ramirez is able to do either.

Jose Ramirez is almost certainly going to be utilized as a pass-rushing specialist in the NFL. There is concern among scouts about his run-stopping abilities, but that’s not always a bad thing. There are plenty of NFL edge rushers who solely rush the passer and have made a career out of it; James Houston IV was a late-round prospect in last season’s draft who found great success in such a role for the Detroit Lions down the stretch.

Even when Ramirez doesn’t utilize his speed right off the snap, he can stay patient. His length allows him to stonewall tackles, keep his eyes on the quarterback, and make the play once that quarterback steps up. In both the second and third clips here, he is able to control his assignment and keep his eyes on the quarterback. When DeQuan Finn steps up to scramble, Ramirez is right there to make the play.

That skill will be crucial in run situations. If he’s in and the offense tries to stretch it with a run off-tackle, Ramirez has the strength to no be blown back and can keep his blocker at arm’s length to shed him once the running back makes a decision.

The bottom line on Jose Ramirez is that he is a legitimate threat to get to the quarterback on any given play. He was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 for a reason.

Likely due to the fact it took him until his fourth year in college to break out and the fact that he will be an older prospect, NFL teams have a late day-three grade on Ramirez.

Regardless, he has shown that he has the ability to contribute if given the chance. Ramirez can be a solid rotational piece on passing downs for a defense looking to just send three or four.

His Relative Athletic Score profile is quite similar to Trent Cole out of Cincinnati from the 2005 draft, which bodes well. Cole had himself a respectable, decade-long career in the NFL. The profile also comps similarly to Mario Addision, who just finished his 14th season of service in the NFL. Suffice to say there’s potential for Ramirez to find a role if he develops.

At the end of the day, the production speaks for itself.

Ramirez is a solid prospect in this year’s draft and whichever NFL team elects to take a chance on him will likely have a player who can contribute more than they would have expected.

Kent Lee Platte