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How "Trusting the Process" Brought OLB Jose Ramirez to the NFL's Doorstep

Outside linebacker Jose Ramirez talks mental fortitude at rookie minicamp

Jose Ramirez Rokie mInicamp_

First-year players get their first taste of the NFL during the onboarding process of rookie minicamp. Players underwent physicals and strength and conditioning testing on Thursday, followed by three days of meetings and on-field instruction featuring special teams work and position drills. The 90-minute practices provide players with an opportunity to showcase what they learned between the hash marks. For Buccaneers' sixth-round pick Jose Ramirez, the road to the NFL has not been conventional. 

As a three-star recruit out of Auburndale High School, Ramirez eventually enrolled at Arizona in January 2017. He redshirted that year and after a coaching change materialized, concerns regarding "fit" caused Ramirez to transfer. He decided to go the juco route, and played the 2018 season at Riverside City College. In 12 games, Ramirez tallied 44 tackles, 8.0 sacks and one forced fumble. After boosting his film, Ramirez transferred to Eastern Michigan in May of 2019, where he became a two-year starter (2021-2022) in their four-man front. During that two-year span, Ramirez emerged with 31.5 tackles for loss in 25 games, leading the FBS with sacks per game (1.0) in 2022. He rushes like a man possessed with a relentless pass-rush repertoire. His 6.95-second three-cone drill and 4.30 short shuttle were No. 1 among all edge rushers at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, drawing the eyes of onlookers. 

Ramirez credits his uptick in production to work ethic. His mindset evolved during the juco stint and Ramirez began incessantly watching film to breakdown the intricacies of the opponent and tendencies of offensive linemen, sometimes until the early-morning hours. In addition to pair with the mental fortitude, Ramirez placed importance on the physical aspect of the game. He started running the stairs every-other-day during the summer to cultivate perseverance and stamina. 

"Being in college for six years, it just teaches you patience," Ramirez stated. "One thing I think I learned during the process is do not change your dream, change your habits. I feel like everywhere I went I learned that I was not giving my full potential. It is a ladder. I was not at my full capacity, and I still feel like I am back at the square bottom but at least now, I have the knowledge of how to pull myself higher." 

When he felt at the bottom of the ladder, Ramirez changed course, but the destination/aspirations stayed the same. His empowered detail-oriented approach spurred him forward. To be "great" requires unlimited sacrifices and dedication, a sentiment that Ramirez personifies in his unwavering approach to trust the process. 

"I could go a game without a sack and another game without a sack, but Sunday through Friday, I still had to put in the same amount of work as I did the week before," Ramirez said. "Because, if I did not, who would say the second half of my season would be there …I learned to have the confidence in myself and trusted the process." 

He willed himself to the NFL's doorstep and has joined the Bucs outside linebacker corps. On Saturday at the AdventHealth Training Center, Ramirez underwent positional drills with coach George Edwards, honing in on coverage drops to improve change-of-direction. Ramirez will vie to earn a spot as a rotational pass rusher with the Bucs, bolstering the unit in 2023. With athleticism, active hands and instinctual play, Ramirez has the projectable traits to solidify Tampa Bay's defense.

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