The consensus #1 wide receiver of the 2015 recruiting class, Calvin Ridley (@CalvinRidley1) has not disappointed for the Crimson Tide. Through two seasons at Alabama, Ridley has racked up 161 catches for 1814 yards and 14 TDs along with being selected as an All-American freshman and being the lead receiver on Alabama’s 2016 championship team. Ridley looks to follow in the footsteps of Julio Jones and Amari Cooper: Both cut their teeth under Nick Saban and have gone on to do amazing things at the next level.
While Ridley may have the talent to become something special, his age is somewhat of a drawback. A true junior, Ridley will turn 23 years old this season. At Monarch High School in Florida, he could only play three games as a senior before he became too old to play under Florida High School rules. The NFL team that drafts the Crimson Tide star will have to quickly groom him if they want him to be at his best when his prime years roll around (typically age 25-30). Ridley is receiving a lot of hype as a top WR prospect, so let’s break down his game by strengths and weaknesses and discuss where his draft stock is in the early parts of the draft process.
On jet-sweeps and screens, Ridley is a constant threat to take it to the house. He gets to the edge almost effortlessly as he weaves through helpless defenders. I would like to see Ridley incorporate this into his route running on a more consistent basis and use it to create separation on short to intermediate routes. But looking past that, you can’t help but love the quick burst athleticism that he has at his disposal.
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) June 10, 2017
Straight Line Speed:
A very good deep threat, Ridley simply out runs corners to create separation and makes it look easy. Not only a natural burner, Ridley has deciphered how to use speed to his advantage with great body positioning and tremendous vertical leap when the ball is in the air. The extra split-second he gets because of his separation helps him set up when the ball is in the air. It makes all the difference for Ridley. I can’t wait to see how he goes about using his speed in the NFL.
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) June 16, 2017
I’ll be the first to admit that Ridley is no Corey Davis when it comes to route-running. In fact, it feels odd to call route-running a strength, mostly because he is unconventional. Ridley isn’t your classic sharp-cutting, stop on a dime and break ankles kind of a runner. He’s a deceptive, crafty runner that simply wins with the little but important things like body position and altered speeds.
Calvin Ridley is a solid, perhaps even proficient blocker for Alabama. His effort is awesome, but his technique has a long way to go if he wants to slow down NFL corners. Ridley has a nice frame at 6’1″, he just needs to get much better with his hand placement and overall leverage. Nothing too serious to worry about here, but this is one thing Ridley should focus on.
An accomplished receiver with an abundance of athleticism, Ridley has all the talent you could ask for. He has all the tools to be a franchise X- or Z- receiver, and would also succeed in the slot. Smooth around the edges, there isn’t a ton to work on for Ridley. His advanced age is really the only thing that could be a drawback for teams. All things considered, I see him as a mid-first round prospect. With a dip in production from his freshman to sophomore years, I’ll be looking for Ridley to really light it up this season.
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) June 11, 2017
Below are several game highlights of Calvin Ridley:
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