Bacarri Rambo knows why he fell to the sixth round. He also knows he received the one thing he wanted: a chance.
The Redskins selected Rambo, suspended twice at Georgia for drugs, in the sixth round Saturday. He’s the second safety they’ve selected, joining fourth-round pick Phillip Thomas.
Rambo likely would have been drafted higher had it not been for off-field concerns. He was suspended for the 2011 season opener vs. Boise State after testing positive for marijuana, his high school coach told the Associated Press at the time. The next year he missed four games after another positive test.
“It was a very selfish decision,” Rambo said. “But I grew from it and it helped me put my priorities in order. It helped me be a better person. I hit adversity and I overcame it. I’m happy to be where I’m at right now.”
Rambo still made an impact in 2011, intercepting eight passes — second most in the country behind Redskins’ second-round choice David Amerson. Rambo earned All-American status. Rambo intercepted three passes and forced three fumbles in 10 games this past season. The 6-foot, 211-pound Rambo has good speed at safety, timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.55 seconds. Many experts projected him as a third- or fourth-round pick.
Instead, he slipped to the sixth.
“I thought everybody had forgot about me,” he said. “I just sit here praying, asking God to just give me one team that likes me and the Redskins gave me a call. It’s a blessed moment.
“[But] it was very hard because I felt like a lot of those guys wasn’t near the guy I was. It put a big chip on my shoulder. I have to go out there and prove to everybody.”
But he understood why he fell.
“But that’s behind me,” he said. “That’s my past, I can’t control my past. All I can do is grow from it.”
Rambo also had to deal with his child being delivered stillborn in September 2011.
“It was a very emotional week for me,” Rambo said. “I couldn’t practice for a couple days and I even thought about not playing. I had to put my team first because that’s who got me through that situation. I overcame it.”
Playing football is a lot easier than dealing with the death of a child. On the field, Rambo has his strengths. One longtime coach said Rambo was an inconsistent decision maker, a one speed guy and that he plays small.
“He’s great value in the sixth round though,” the coach said. “Both safeties are solid picks in their slots.”
NFL Draft expert, and former scout, Russ Lande said earlier this offseason of Rambo: “He’s an athletic kid. He can run. He has great coverage skills when you look at his history of covering the slot, tight ends. He’s not afraid to hit guys, though he’s a slender-framed kid. He’s a versatile kid.”
Rambo said he prefers playing free safety, though he did play in the box at Georgia, too.
“I like to showcase my ball skills,” Rambo said of playing free safety. “I like to play coverage better. I feel I have good ball skills. I have speed, enough speed to cover some receivers. I’d rather play free, but I can play strong too.”