clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ryan Ramczyk checks a ton of boxes for the Saints, looks to be perfect pairing

Jake Kocorowski of Bucky’s 5th Quarter offers some more insight and things you might not have known about new Saints offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints used their 32nd overall pick in the NFL Draft to take Wisconsin offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk. While many couldn’t wrap their head around it initially, the pick made sense to a lot. I caught up with Editor Jake Kocorowski of SB Nation’s Wisconsin Badgers site, Bucky’s 5th Quarter, to ask him some more about a potential new staple in the offense.

We've seen the analysts break down everything under the sun, but what do you see that Ramczyk does extremely well and is an opportunity in his game?

You didn't hear Ramczyk's name in a negative light much during the 2016 season, which is a great start. He played against some tough competition in perhaps the roughest paper schedule Wisconsin had seen in recent memory with LSU and cross-divisional games against Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State (plus Nebraska and Penn State--the latter in the Big Ten Championship game). He's athletic enough to play against college football's best in pass blocking, but also was dominant in the running game. I didn't solely focus much on the offensive line on games at times, but you can notice Ramczyk getting to the second level of defenses well, as seen in this touchdown run by Bradrick Shaw against Nebraska.

Whenever an All-American and Big Ten Linebacker of the Year says the best lineman that he faced was Ramczyk, and Ramczyk was on scout team, that says a lot.

There are opportunities for him to learn more. He's only played one year of FBS football, and I think there's still some seasoning for him against Power Five competition. That being said, I think he has the ability to learn and grow more into a long-term player for the Saints.

No showing for pro day or combine based on a couple of procedures. Could that have been a red flag and caused Ramczyk to fall to the Saints at 32?

I don't think it's necessarily a red flag rather the product of a volatile draft with some uncanny runs for offensive skill players. The fact three quarterbacks were drafted so high (and teams trading up to select them) made the draft unpredictable, and that also includes the likes of a Corey Davis going to No. 5 to the Titans.

The initial report on Ramczyk said the surgery would have a four-month recovery time, and the conference call with reporters after being drafted made it seem like the re-checks he had were "all good." He could have been a low-to-mid first to early-second round pick. I think just the way the players fell, and the unique needs of each team, he fell to the Saints. His one year against the likes of LSU, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State really highlighted his next-level ability.

Speak to the versatility that a player like Ramczyk can offer a team. He's projected as a good fit to take over for Zach Strief as the starting right tackle, but can he slide outside to the left or kick inside to guard?

It sounds like right tackle is where he might land with the Saints, but I feel he could definitely slide inside. B5Q's Owen Riese, who also writes for Acme Packing Company, believes so as well and actually stated he felt Ramczyk would have played guard if Green Bay would have selected him. I think he's athletic enough to play both of those positions.

At left tackle, at the very least, I think he could be good. I'm not the foremost expert on offensive linemen, but Ramczyk would be facing the best in the world off the edge, but I feel he could hold his own with his athletic ability and footwork. For now, it looks like right tackle could be his landing spot, and he'll be consistent.

What do you think Ramczyk's defining moment was at Wisconsin? Any favorite memories of him?

It's hard to say what Ramczyk's most defining moment was on the field, as honestly, you didn't hear about any defender really causing fits. That's a great sign for the Stevens Point, Wis. native. However, his moment may have been the hype surrounding him before the season even began. Outside linebacker Joe Schobert, now with the Cleveland Browns, recently reiterated what he's said in the past about the Division III transfer--that he was the toughest guy he faced in 2015, and that was with Ramczyk on scout team. The media surrounding him in his first real public interview last spring had a crowd, especially after getting first-team reps during those early practices.

There isn't necessarily a favorite memory of him, but Ramczyk was always pleasant with the media and answered questions whether difficult or easy. On the field, he was an amazing left tackle for one season, and his story is one of the most unique I've heard for a first-round draft pick in recent memory. He personified Wisconsin's motto of "Smart. Tough. Dependable.," albeit briefly.

What further insight could you provide on Ramczyk that we might not find in looking into him?

As mentioned before, Ramczyk was always cordial with reporters after practices and games. More soft spoken in my interactions with him, but I did get him to laugh during an interview when asking who had the best mullet between left guard Jon Dietzen and now-Green Bay Packers draft pick Vince Biegel (at B5Q, we ask the hard-hitting questions). He rediscovered his love for football after leaving Winona State, worked his way up from UW-Stevens Point to play in Madison for a Division I, Big Ten school like Wisconsin. Not just that, he became a consensus All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection. Then, he heard his name called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at the end of the first round on Thursday, and walked up on stage. It's a story almost written for Hollywood.

There’s a lot to love when looking at Ramczyk in the Saints offense. He could very well challenge Zach Strief to start at right tackle this season, and could easily find work in Jumbo sets for the Saints as the sixth offensive lineman. The versatility at left and right tackle is something the Saints will obviously need heading into 2017. Ramczyk was credited with just one sack on 364 pass blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Offensive line coach Dan Roushar should help Ramczyk with any shortcomings in his game, and get him up to speed quickly.