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The Most Important Cowboy Football Players for 2017: No. 5

He may be frustrating, but his success is vital Oklahoma State’s season

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma State Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve officially reached the top five in our countdown. The five players whose success are most vital to the Cowboys’ reaching their goals and aspirations for 2017.

We kick the top five off with one of the most frustrating players on the roster, but one whose success could make or break the entire secondary.

No. 5 - #7 Ramon Richards

Iowa State v Oklahoma State Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

I don’t think I saw any other player’s name cursed on Twitter last season more than cornerback Ramon Richards’. For every amazing interception (like the one pictured above) there was a blown tackle or busted coverage that led to a huge gain or touchdown.

Or you could look at it the other way. Richards wasn’t perfect, but he made up for those mistakes with huge plays. He always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to make the crucial pick. (Maybe because teams kept targeting him because they knew he was the best chance to get beat?)

He was fourth on the team in tackles last year and was tied with Jordan Sterns for the most interceptions with three.

However, it’s his move to safety that landed him at number five on the countdown. It’s a gamble for Gundy and Co. to move their most experienced corner to free safety. However, it’s one that Richards himself says was a good one that gives him more freedom.

“I like to use my instincts a lot and look around and use my eyes,” Richards said. “At corner, you have to get locked in even though there are certain times you can look around. At free safety, I get more freedom.”

Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer echoes Richards remarks, sort of, saying Richards ability to anticipate will be more beneficial in his new position.

“He’s got great instincts for the ball,” said defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said of Richards. “I think he does a good job of anticipating things -- which sometimes as a corner, that gets you in trouble.”

In theory the move will allows Richards to use his instincts, without getting burned as often as he has by them in the past. If that means more plays like this one, then that’s a good thing for Oklahoma State.

While reports from practice have been positive, we won’t know for sure if the move was a smart one or not until the season starts. If it works, which means Richards limits the mistakes of previous years and the cornerbacks are OK without him, then Oklahoma State could have the kind of secondary necessary to win their second Big 12 title.

If not... we could be in for a long season.

We will be releasing the rest of our countdown each day leading up to the Spring Game April 15th. Check back every day to see who makes the list!

Top 15 Countdown:

15. Matt Ammendola
14. Backup Quarterback
13. Tyron Johnson
12. Marcus Keyes
11. Jarrell Owens
10. Zach Sinor
9. DeQuinton Osborne
8. Darius Curry
7. Chad Whitener
6. Jalen McClesky