Washington football has a long track record of developing lower rated two, three and four-star players into high picks in the NFL Draft, so what could he do with a five-star player like Kelee Ringo?
Washington football has placed a large number of defensive backs in the NFL. The exact number is five since 2014, and there will in all likelihood be four more in the 2019 NFL Draft. Byron Murphy and Taylor Rapp are very likely first-round picks, Jordan Miller will probably be a mid to late round pick, and JoJo McIntosh deserves a shot on an NFL roster. Ezekiel Turner also made a roster and got some heavy Pro Bowl consideration during his rookie season.
Outside of Murphy and Budda Baker, who were top 100, consensus four-star players, everyone else was an under-recruited, three-star player. Obviously, there’s a ton of talent inside those guys, or else they wouldn’t have been offered scholarships to play in college. But it’s up to the coaching staff at those schools to unlock that talent and get them to the NFL. Jimmy Lake has been one of the most successful coaches in the country at doing that.
If we look at the other schools who consider themselves “DBU,” Ohio State and LSU, let’s look at some of those recruits. Malik Hooker was a three-star player, but outside of that, every other player they placed in the NFL was a four or five-star prospect. Sidney Jones might have been picked before Marshon Lattimore as well if he didn’t tear his Achilles at his pro day.
When we look to LSU, you can’t knock the pro success of guys like Jamal Adams and Patrick Peterson, they were both five-star recruits coming out of high school. Then you can look at the guys they have going into the draft over the next few seasons like Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit, they’re four and five-star talents respectively. Compare that to the three-star (admittedly, underrated out of high school, but that doesn’t change the point) talent that Taylor Rapp was coming out of high school.
This isn’t a hit piece on either of those programs or coaching staffs, but they are just making the most out of the already highly rated talent that they have. And this also isn’t saying that Jones, Miller, Kevin King or anyone along those lines is any less talented than those players.
But what it is saying is that Jimmy Lake was able to maximize the talent from those players and get them drafted. Not only does he get them drafted, they get picked early, and get a shot on NFL rosters. King and Jones have dealt with an incredibly unlucky string of injuries early in their careers, but they have Pro Bowl potential if they can stay on the field.
Now, we move to Ringo. The top 10 prospect is a super athlete and has the best technique in man coverage coming out of high school in a very long time. No matter where he chooses to go to school, he’s going to be the number one corner on the roster, and probably start as a true freshman. But what kind of ceiling can he reach?
I personally think he’s going to be the next Patrick Peterson, while 247 Sports has his player comp as Jalen Ramsey. Both are fair, and Ringo has the talent to do what only those two, Denzel Ward, and Terence Newman has done since 2003, get picked in the top five as a cornerback.
We as the fans can see the potential, coaches around the country can see it, and Jimmy Lake can see it. And by track record, no defensive backs coach in the nation has capitalized more on talent than Jimmy Lake. He’s sent some incredible prospects to the NFL, and he can make Ringo the best corner in the NFL.