One of the reasons the Georgia defense has been so good over the last several years has been their ability to cause turnovers. One of the biggest reasons for this has been the play of their safety, Bacarri Rambo, who intercepted 16 passes and forced 6 fumbles in during his career. In addition to his ability to be a ballhawk, Rambo has shown the ability to be a great tackler with impressive strength for the position. Between his experience and production against top level competition, his ability to cause turnovers, and ability to hit warrant a second round grade, but the depth of the class could cause him to be picked later than maybe he should and while he could end up still going in the second round, it would likely be towards the end of it in the next couple rounds.
Rambo measured in at 6’1/2” 215lbs at the Senior Bowl. He is strong, especially in his legs, so if he wants to continue adding bulk, it should be focused on his upper body. There is a slight concern that he may not want to get any bigger if it could impact his athleticism. If he can add more strength without hurting his speed, no one is going to complain about having a 220lb free safety if they can move, but if he gets slower and loses some of his quickness, he may play himself into being a strong safety, which is not the end of the world, but not where he plays his best football. This will be something to keep an eye on at the combine and at his pro day; whether or not his weight fluctuates and if so, in which direction. Rambo’s speed appears average, but he has solid quickness as long as he stays low. He can get himself in trouble when he plays high.
When it comes to tackling, Rambo can be a great tackler. When he wants to make a good tackle or needs to make a tackle, he does it the right way. He breaks down, explodes through contact and can hit with power. And it seems like every time Rambo is the last line of defense and if he does not make the tackle, it would result in a touchdown, he makes it. There are times, however, when he will either give a lackadaisical effort on tackles when his teammates are there or he will try to make the big hit with bad form and just throw his shoulder at the ball carrier. If he puts more emphasis on doing it, Rambo can be a consistently good tackler who can hit with some pop.
As a run defender, Rambo is typically coming from the back end, but he comes aggressively on the attack. If he has a lane, he can come up and make a good hit. He takes good angles and displays the range to cover the field to make plays. Occasionally, he will get himself in trouble when he gets caught flat footed and too tall and opponents will beat him with quickness, but he is strong enough to take down the most powerful ball carriers. For example, he had plenty of success tackling Eddie Lacy in the SEC Championship game.
In coverage, Rambo is almost always a deep zone safety. That typically came in the form of Cover-1 but with some Cover-2 mixed in as well. He played as the last line of defense and roamed around the back end of the defense looking to make plays. He has good instincts and a sense for spacing to play effectively in coverage while being a threat to make a play on the ball, so while his speed does not stand out, he plays smart and does little things that make him look faster on the field of play. Rambo is a ballhawk with tremendous ball skills, timing, and the ability to use his body to box out opponents to make the play. He can read the quarterback’s eyes well, come up and undercut routes to make plays, but also is the guy who seems to be there waiting for the ball when the quarterback sails it over his receiver’s head. Rambo concentrates well and can catch the ball in traffic and through contact. He also has the ability to intimidate opposing receivers crossing the middle of the field and he typically does it in a way that should not be penalized in the NFL. He does a good job of hitting opponents cleanly in the air and with how he tackles that is physical and gets the point across but might be exactly what the NFL is looking for in terms of how to keep the hitting in football without the risk of concussions. Although he did not do it often, Rambo did show ability in man coverage and could be viable against tight ends. Rambo will occasionally take risks and they can backfire on him, but he is right far more often than he is wrong.
In addition to being a threat to intercept passes, Rambo puts in a lot of effort to force fumbles. Anytime a ball carrier seems to be corralled and wrapped up by teammates, Rambo is trying to rip the ball out just like coaches stress. He has caused 6 fumbles in his career at Georgia and is one more threat he brings to a football team. Rambo is good with the ball in his hands after a turnover. In his career, he scored 3 times off of turnovers, but had an impressive 342 yards off of turnovers.
The best fit for Rambo is to a team that where he can be a deep free safety, roam the field, read the quarterbacks eyes, and make plays on the football not unlike the role Ed Reed has played with the Baltimore Ravens. He can play the run, blitz, and play man coverage, but his bread and butter is playing center field. In fairness to Rambo, he has not shown in an inability to do anything a safety could do; he simply was asked to play the roaming, last line of defense at Georgia and with that experience, it is where he projects the best in the NFL.
Because of how Rambo tries to go after turnovers, the guy that comes to mind for comparison is former member of the Tribe at William and Mary, Darren Sharper. Darren Sharper finished his career in the NFL with 63 interceptions and 8 forced fumbles and if Rambo can continue the legacy he has started at Georgia, his career could follow a similar path. Sharper was an incredible football player and that is a lot to expect of anyone, but that is the style of football Rambo plays.
Turnovers are invaluable in the NFL and finding players who demonstrate the ability to cause them are a commodity. Bacarri Rambo has consistently demonstrated throughout his college career that he is a threat to cause takeaways. He plays a center fielding type of free safety that will be particularly attractive to some teams that employ that style of safety and may not be as attractive to others that want a more balanced style of safety. So while Rambo warrants a second round pick, he could slip due to the depth of the position but also could surprise some people by going earlier than expected or later than expected due to his specific skill set and fit with NFL teams.
Georgia Tech 2012
Ole Miss 2011
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