NFL Draft Prospect Breakdown: Calvin Ridley

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Other Breakdowns

Quenton Nelson – 93/100
Saquon Barkley
 – 92/100
Tremaine Edmunds – 89/100
Bradley Chubb – 89/100
Derwin James – 88/100
Roquan Smith – 87/100
Minkah Fitzpatrick – 87/100
Harold Landry – 85/100
Rashaan Evans – 84/100
Will Hernandez – 84/100
Baker Mayfield – 84/100
Sam Darnold – 83/100
Josh Rosen – 83/100
Lamar Jackson – 82/100
Marcus Davenport – 82/100
Josh Allen – 77/100
Leighton Vander Esch – 77/100

Stats, Awards, and Accolades

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*All Stats via sports-reference.com*

Class: Junior
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 189 lbs
Awards and Accolades: First-team All-SEC (2017), Second-team All-SEC (2016), USA Today Freshman All-American (2015)

In his freshman year, Calvin Ridley put up incredible numbers, 89 catches for 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns, earning him Freshman All-American honors from USA Today. This past year, Ridley recorded just 967 yards, but did so on 63 catches, increasing his yards per catch to over 15 because of his expanded role as a vertical threat. Ridley’s 4.43 40 yard dash time came in the 85th percentile among wide receivers, not surprising given he weighs under 190 pounds.

Because receivers are not catching the ball every play, I rewatched five games for this breakdown: Alabama’s season opener against Florida State, their playoff games against Clemson and Georgia, as well as two random in-conference games to fill in the gaps, against Mississippi State and Florida. These defenses ranked 33rd, 2nd, 11th, 19th, and 54th respectively in Bill Connelly’s defensive rankings.

Pros

Faced tough competition in college
Can beat double teams
Superb route-runner
Sudden quickness out of breaks
Great speed
Good jab step
Vertical threat
Can create space
Finds a soft spot in zone coverage
Can line up anywhere
Gets yards after the catch

Cons

Inconsistent hands
Struggles as a blocker
Needs to bulk up
Struggles to break tackles because of size
Average height

Grades

Contested Catch Ability – 6.5/10
Route Running – 10/10
After Catch Ability – 8/10
Speed – 9/10

Scheme Fits

Outside – 7.5/10
Slot – 10/10

Overall Grade: 81/100

A reminder, this where I think he should go, not where he will go, these rankings also DO NOT take into account positional importance

90+ Superstar
85+ Elite Player (Top Ten)
80+ First Round Talent
77+ Second Round Talent
74+ Third Round Talent
66+ Third Day Talent (Rounds 4-7)

10/10 Rating – Best in the class or close to it
7.5/10 Rating – Average
5/10 Rating – Poor

Calvin Ridley, the supposed crown jewel of this receiver class, and I give him a low first round grade? Now, for starters, I still gave him a first-round grade, this isn’t me hating on Ridley in any way, it’s just, he is a slot receiver, and in the NFL, I don’t think you want to spend a top-ten pick on a slot receiver. Ridley’s route running and ability to find holes in zones is some of the best I’ve seen, and he has good speed. He will be an excellent slot receiver on the next level, I just don’t think he is well-equipped to play outside receiver. He has decent, but not great height, and his thin build means that he is easily wrapped up. He generally has good hands, but sometimes he can go through down stretches where he drops a few in a row. Ridley can be flexed out as an X as a vertical threat, but with that comes the risk of him being bodied up by bigger corners, and his height means that even though he has good leaping ability, he will struggle to catch jump balls against NFL safeties.

I would take Ridley in the late first round. He will be a nasty third down threat from the slot, his curls and slants create a ton of separation, and by playing in the SEC, he has already faced a lot of tough competition. He will be at or near the top of my board as far as receivers go, but he could be jumped by an Anthony Miller type who is more equipped to play either the slot or outside as a receiver at the NFL level. The question really just comes down to how much you value a third-down playmaker like Ridley against someone that can go more vertical.

Next Up: Tremaine Edmunds, OLB – Virginia Tech

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