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Jalen Ramsey "grateful" for time with Jaguars, but focused on present

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – They were the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2016 and he began his NFL career with, before eventually trading him to the Rams midway through the 2019 season.

But when the Jaguars visit SoFi Stadium on Sunday, it will be just like any other game for cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

"It's cool. It's part of my journey," Ramsey said after Thursday's practice. "I'm grateful for my time there but I'm here now happy to be here. It is what it is."

Part of the reason the matchup doesn't carry as much weight is because of the turnover in the Jaguars organization since Ramsey was traded.

Jacksonville parted ways with head coach Doug Marrone following the 2020 season and replaced him with Urban Meyer. The changes extended to the front office as well, with David Caldwell – the general manager who drafted Ramsey and traded him to Los Angeles – being replaced by Trent Baalke after last season. Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin was dismissed following the 2019 season.

From a roster standpoint, personnel changes have also left few remaining connections to Jaguars players from Ramsey's time with the club.

"I don't really know much people there no more," Ramsey said. "They've got a whole new organization, I only know probably five people on the team and I don't really even be talking to them like that. I only really talk to like two of them."

In the two years since that trade, Ramsey has logged 100 total tackles, five interceptions and 23 pass breakups in 35 games, earning the third and fourth Pro Bowl nods of his career as well as his second Associated Press First Team All-Pro selection.

Rams head coach Sean McVay has seen Ramsey always be "an elite, shutdown corner that affected the game in a variety of ways" and continue to naturally mature and grow as a leader during that time.

"(He's a) special player, special person," McVay said. "I think the thing that I've really noticed about Jalen, he cares a lot about the people that he's around. He goes out of his way to really help, to share, he cares about his teammates, he cares about winning. That's the one thing is he's demanding. He's a great, elite competitor. He's got one of the best gameday demeanors of anybody I've ever been around in terms of a fearlessness, but a confidence. He's got a controlled aggression during the course of games that I think is really impressive. And then he's bringing people with him, like I've mentioned.

That approach is why Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris doesn't expect this week's game to have any sort of emotional impact.

"To be absolutely honest, I've watched him develop so much in his short time here," Morris said. "To watch his demeanor and how it was last week, going to play a great player like (Packers wide receiver) Davante (Adams), you think it would change and it would be different and out of control, and it wasn't. It was a calm, leader, player. He's been kind of steady and easy throughout the season. I think some of the different responsibilities allow him to do that, but I think it's part of his maturity and a credit to him as well."

Ramsey said he had no vision or expectation of what he thought his experience would be once he was traded to Los Angeles, but also "genuinely" preferred not to compare his time in Jacksonville to his time in L.A.

Ultimately, he is grateful for the way that time period in his life shaped him, but focused on the present.

"Just because I'm genuinely grateful for my time there and that whole experience," Ramsey said. "It was a part of my life that I needed, that I appreciated it. I went through things there that make me a better man today, make me appreciate the situation I'm in today even more, just some things I went through there. I'm grateful for that part of my journey. I'm super blessed and I'm happy to be on this part of my journey, too."

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