Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver, Alabama
Calvin Ridley is a junior wide receiver out of Alabama. A big plus of his is his great size he possesses. He comes in at 6’1’’ and he weighs 180 pounds, a near-perfect mold for an NFL wide receiver. The junior wide out is easily one of the most polished prospects in the upcoming draft. That is something to be said for a position that many have trouble with transitioning to the NFL.
After Amari Cooper’s illustrious career at Alabama, Ridley was called upon to step into his role. The ‘Bama receiver had a great start to his career as he posted a 1,000-yard season as a true freshman. His sophomore and junior campaign’s have been a different story though. Due to poor quarterback play and Nick Saban’s effort to run the ball more, Ridley’s numbers have diminished. He has taken his role change seriously as he became a tremendous run blocker. Ridley acts like every play is going to be his last as he goes 100 percent every play.
The former number 12 recruit in the nation is well-rounded, but one ability he contains trumps all the others. That is his ability to create space due to his crisp route running. It doesn’t matter if it is zone coverage, man coverage, or press for Ridley.
Ridley is what we call a natural pass catcher, which means he doesn’t let the ball get into his body. Instead, he snatches the ball out of the air with his hands. It is almost impossible to find a pass that he has dropped, so the Alabama coaching staff loves to use him as a chain-mover. They just need to set up a five-yard stop route and the quarterback just needs to put it in his vicinity. This drives the defenders crazy, and as the game goes on the defenders then begin to bite on the stop route. Ridley then shows off the completeness of his game and flies past them with his speed.
Player comparison- Steve Smith from USC with more upside
Ridley is a “queen of all trades” kind of a player that has no holes in his game. However, of all the top tier talent at the wide receiver position, he may have one of the lowest ceilings.
Draft position- Middle to late 1st round
Ridley’s versatility to play every wide receiver position and his success versus all different types of coverage will put him on every team’s big board. Once the elite level talent is gone look for Ridley’s name to called on Thursday night of the Draft.
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