40 Time: (pending Combine)
Hand: 9 1/4″
Projected Draft Position: 3rd – 5th
Bacarri Rambo came to Athens as a well-rounded athlete from Seminole County HS in Georgia. He earned Prep-Star All-Southeast Region honors, as well as a spot on the SuperPrep All-Dixie Team. Rivals ranked Rambo 40th at the athlete position and Scout.com had him listed as a three-star recruit. According to the Georgia Bulldogs website, he was ranked 29th amongst the Georgia Top-50 and the 29th-ranked safety in the nation.
After redshirting his freshman season at Georgia in 2008, Rambo was named one of team’s Newcomer of the Year award winners for defense, while appearing in 11 games making 25 tackles, five pass break-ups and two interceptions in 2009.
As a sophomore, Rambo started all 13 games, recording 82 tackles, three interceptions, three pass break ups and three forced fumbles, earning himself one of the team’s Most Improved Player Awards for defense.
Rambo had his best collegiate season in 2011 when he started all 13 games in which he appeared, recording 55 tackles, a fumble recovery, eight pass break-ups and a team-best eight interceptions. He was named First-Team All-American by Associated Press, Yahoo Sports and Rivals.
After testing positive for marijuana — his second offense of the UGA athletic association’s drug policy in as many seasons — Rambo was suspended for the first four games of his senior campaign in 2012. Upon returning, he finished the remaining 10 games with 73 tackles, three interceptions and a sack.
In his defense, Rambo’s first offense of the drug policy in 2011 occured after being pulled over for speeding and police finding a joint in the purse of a woman who was traveling in the same vehicle. But his case last season was a little more suspect, as Rambo claimed he unknowingly ingested weed brownies while on spring break in Panama City. [ link ]
From a physical standpoint, there’s a lot to like about Rambo as a defensive back. He’s a well-built, lean muscle guy with good movement in his ability to turn-and-burn or get sideline-to-sideline.
Rambo is experienced with single-high looks, an approach that’s going to get even more popular with the progression of mobile quarterbacks and the read-option in the NFL. For Rambo, that’s a good thing. He appears to play best when given plenty of space in front of him.
Despite his frame — and what seems to be the general consensus — Rambo doesn’t come off to me as a physical safety. Not consistently, anyway. If you take a look at his game against Auburn last year (physical) and compare it to his effort against Alabama (not physical), it’s pretty much night and day. On some plays he comes down hard on the line of scrimmage, while other times he gets tentative around the action.
In addition, Rambo also seems a little over-hyped as a tackler. Of course, when he’s playing his better game, his tackling improves. But that’s not every play of every game. It also doesn’t help things that Rambo isn’t a great form tackler to begin with, often times staying high and not taking advantage of angles.
However, as critical as one can be about poor tackling, Rambo usually stays upright in his efforts in order to try and make a strip. While attempting to create turnovers isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Rambo can’t rely on stripping the ball in the NFL over getting low, getting square and consistently bringing down the opposition.
When defending the run, there’s concern as to whether Rambo can effectively shed blocks. Although he has the strength to get past guys, he doesn’t always use it and he’s easily washed out against a more aggressive opponent. Rambo also doesn’t anticipate blocks well, regularly getting hung up on cut-blocks when moving laterally and throwing off his pursuit.
From the tape I’ve seen, Rambo is more of a centerfielder. If you don’t prefer coming up and handing out hits in the box, hanging back in coverage and being comfortable with space in front of you to see the field is Rambo’s best option at the next level.
Rambo tracks the ball well in the air and he can make quarterbacks pay for their mistakes, as the eight interceptions in 2011 can attest. He has decent hands for his position and he has natural field vision as a runner, making him a scoring threat on forced turnovers. His discipline, however, in pass coverage (i.e. play fakes, look-offs) will need to improve at the next level.
Despite what it may sound like, I don’t hate Rambo as a safety prospect. At the same time, I’m not nearly as in love with him as it seems most other people are. It ultimately comes down to what you (or your team) look for in a safety.
If you prefer somewhat of a gambler who works best in space and when able to see the entire field, who also seems to have a nose for being around turnovers, then Rambo is likely somewhere on your list.
If you prefer a physical safety, a consistent guy in both coverage and against the run, a guy that’s versatile in a number of looks and assignments, then I don’t necessarily believe Rambo is the one you’re looking for.
Perhaps I heard too much about Rambo before watching his tape. Maybe my expectations were too high. But I’m not completely sold. He’s inconsistent, he doesn’t use his strength to the best of his ability and he seems one-dimensional.