Calvin Ridley’s NFL Draft Outlook

On February 26, 2018, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

calvin ridley crimson tideSome NFL scouts may say that the 2018 NFL draft is weak at wide receiver and that there are no wide receivers worth a high first-round pick, but Alabama’s Calvin Ridley has the talent and skills to prove them wrong.

It’s often difficult to project whether or not certain skills sets or traits will translate to the NFL, but when it comes to Ridley there’s little doubt.

He has a 40-yard dash speed of 4.35 seconds and the first thing that jumps out when watching his college tapes is that he is a phenomenal route runner that uses his footwork to get defenders off balance and create separation at any level.

When most wide receivers are drafted they simply haven’t been taught how to run the full range of routes, but Ridley doesn’t have this issue.

He has a strong football IQ as he’s smart enough to read a zone and find a hole to sit down in. Some will look at his stats from 2015 to and 2017 and use them against him, but the truth is that the quarterback talent in Alabama was simply not there for him to post flashy numbers.

He played in an Alabama offense that relied heavily on the ground game and a championship-caliber defense. His 967 yards and five touchdowns are actually quite an accomplishment considering that Alabama’s quarterback Jalen Hurts averaged just 18 pass attempts per game and threw for just 2,081 yards on the entire 14-game season. That’s why Ridley’s biggest season came as a freshman, posting 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns with then-quarterback Jake Coker.

Ridley can go from a full sprint to a stop faster than any other receiver in this draft class and will give his future quarterback a nice big target to throw to. He’s very sure-handed and has good vision when he’s on the open field.

His biggest setback is that he’s not as talented breaking multiple tackles, which could limit his yards after the catch at the pro level as he will need to improve his skills to learn how to evade multiple defenders.

At 6’1” and 188 pounds he’s a bit smaller than the average wide receiver and may struggle with press coverage against the most physical NFL cornerbacks. However, if the press coverage slips, he will beat defenders deep as he has the speed to leave them behind.

Although he’s an older prospect (will turn 24 in December) he still deserves to be picked in the first round and is likely to be the first wide receiver off the board come April.

He could end up being taken 8th by the Chicago Bears, where he would be paired with second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky and would likely see over 100 balls headed his way as the Bears lack talented players at the position.

Other possible landing spots include the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply



Live Support