Jalen Ramsey returns to cornerbacks in Mayock's rankings

Jalen Ramsey's versatility for both the cornerback and safety positions helps make him one of the most prized prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft.

It's also readily apparent in NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock's positional rankings, the third iteration of which was unveiled Thursday. Mayock ranked Ramsey as the top cornerback in the draft, putting the former All-ACC star ahead of Florida's Vernon Hargreaves at a position of high value to NFL clubs in the draft. Mayock's initial position rankings in February listed Ramsey among cornerbacks as well, but he got some time on the safeties list -- ranked No. 1 at that position, as well -- in the 2.0 version of Mayock's rankings, which were released about a week after the NFL Scouting Combine.

Said Mayock on NFL Network's Path to the Draft: "Whoever drafts him, I believe, is going to start him out at corner. ... I don't think the label matters, he's an incredibly talented kid."

Ramsey's return to Mayock's assessment of the cornerback position came at the expense of Clemson's Mackensie Alexander, who fell out of the top five after previously being ranked fifth. Alexander wouldn't agree; the outspoken and highly confident cover man called himself the best cornerback in the draft class at the combine in February.

Here are four other things we learned from Mayock's latest position rankings:

2. What about Bob?

Mississippi State DL Chris Jones spent his college career in the cross-state shadow of Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche. Both were five-star recruits who joined rival Mississippi programs in the same signing class, but Nkemdiche absorbed most of the hype as the No. 1-ranked player in the nation who even moonlighted as a running back his freshman season. Where Mayock's rankings are concerned, however, Jones is in Nkemdiche's shadow no more. In fact, he and Baylor's Andrew Billings bumped Nkemdiche out of the top five, and occupy his previous ranking in a tie.

3. Two for the show

Can two of the best five running back prospects in a given draft really be from the same college? Of course, they can. In fact, there's even precedent for two backs from the same school being drafted in the top five: don't forget, Auburn's Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams went to the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Nos. 2 and 5 overall, respectively, in the 2005 draft. Still, it's pretty impressive that the Alabama duo of Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake could both be gone by the time five rushers have been chosen in 2016. Henry's presence in the top five and projection as a second-round pick is easy enough to understand, given a Heisman Trophy-winning season that produced 2,219 yards and 28 touchdowns. Drake's path to his ranking hasn't been quite as easy, as the explosive backup to Henry has had to overcome a number of injuries in his college career, including a gruesome season-ending injury in 2014. Drake's ability on kickoff returns and other special teams help enhance his draft value.

4. Three in, three out

The safety position saw a significant shake-up in Mayock's rankings as three new faces entered the top five: Notre Dame's KeiVarae Russell, Florida's Keanu Neal and Boston College's Justin Simmons. One spot, of course, was made available with Ramsey's move to the cornerback position. Two others fell out of the rankings the hard way: Southern Utah's Miles Killebrew and West Virginia's K.J. Dillon. Mayock said man coverage skills, becoming increasingly more of a demand on safeties in the NFL, was a factor in his changes at safety. Russell's placement with the safeties brings intrigue, as he played cornerback for the Fighting Irish.

"He's a corner. A lot of teams think he's a corner that's tough enough and smart enough to convert to safety, as do I," Mayock said of Russell.

5. Cinderellas

Two players from smaller college programs, Western Kentucky TE Tyler Higbee and Akron LB Jatavis Brown, made their debuts in Mayock's top five. Higbee was among the primary targets of Hilltoppers record-setting QB Brandon Doughty, and more than doubled his receiving production from 2014 to 2015 (38 catches, 563 yards, eight TDs). Brown had a huge season for the Zips with 116 tackles and 11.5 sacks.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*.

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