Rookie Rundown: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Rookie Rundown: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

NFL Draft

Rookie Rundown: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

(Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports)

Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley is expected to be among the top players chosen in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he really doesn’t have a clear-cut rival at his position. He was the top-rated high school prospect in 2014 and lived up to the billing for arguably the nation’s premier program in the toughest conference.

Height: 6-foot
Weight: 189 pounds
40 time: 4.43 seconds

Ridley’s statistics are depressed from playing in an offense that didn’t emphasize the aerial attack, nor did it consistently field a capable quarterback.

Calvin Ridley’s stats 2015-17

YEAR
TEAM
REC
YDS
AVG
LNG
TD
2015
ALA
89
1045
11.7
81
7
2016
ALA
72
769
10.7
52
7
2017
ALA
63
967
15.3
78
5

Pros

  • Productive despite inferior quarterback play in a run-first system
  • Experience in a pro-style offense
  • Elite body control and ability to gain separation
  • Ran the full route tree
  • Excellent feet and natural hands
  • A touchdown threat on every play

Cons

  • Lean frame with little room to add muscle
  • Struggles in press coverage
  • Drops too many passes (20 in 3 years) in contested coverage, especially over the middle
  • Lacks functional strength to gain yardage after contact

Fantasy outlook

Ridley’s landing spot obviously will dictate his ultimate value, but we’re looking at a receiver capable of starting immediately and being productive for fantasy owners in Year 1.

Here’s a look at how several high-level rookie wideouts fared. Several players are comparable to Ridley (Marvin Harrison, Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Brandin Cooks, Odell Beckham Jr.) and the others were strong performers as first-round picks.

Year
Player
G
Rec
Yds
Avg
Yds/G
TD
1996
Marvin Harrison
16
64
836
13.1
52.2
8
2009
Michael Crabtree
11
48
625
13
56.8
2
2011
Julio Jones
13
54
959
17.8
73.8
8
2011
A.J. Green
15
65
1,057
16.3
70.5
7
2013
DeAndre Hopkins
16
52
802
15.4
50.1
2
2014
Sammy Watkins
16
65
982
15.1
61.4
6
2014
Odell Beckham Jr.
12
91
1,305
14.3
108.8
12
2014
Brandin Cooks
10
53
550
10.4
55
3
2014
Mike Evans
15
68
1,051
15.5
70.1
12
2015
Amari Cooper
16
72
1,070
14.9
66.9
6
Averages
14
63.2
923.7
14.6
65.9
6.6

Ridley’s long-term worth is as high as any receiver to come out in recent drafts, and it isn’t hyperbole to believe can develop into a perennial Pro Bowler or better. As a rookie, he has flex value in the worst-case scenario and could emerge as a fine WR2.

The most compelling suitors include Buffalo (12th, 22nd), Washington (13th), Green Bay (14th), Arizona (15th), Baltimore (16th), Dallas (19th) and Carolina (24th). It is difficult to envision Ridley slipping past the midpoint of the opening round, and if he does, so many other teams are in play. Buffalo, Washington and Arizona are atop the short list of likely destinations.

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