Calvin Ridley presents an interesting prospect for the 2018 receiver draft class. He is by most accounts the best prospect this year, but I think that says more about the class than his ability. There is no true tier one receiver in this year’s class. There isn’t an A.J. Green or Julio Jones. There isn’t a freak of nature at the receiver position that screams game changer in the top 10 of this draft.
Ridley is very talented, and that shouldn’t be lost, but people will overrate him due to the class. It is easy to do considering he still has quite a bit of talent, but it’s likely he’s going to disappoint a fanbase by not being as good as advertised.
Weight: 189 pounds
Position: Wide receiver
Projected Round: First round
NFL Comparison: I would say he is a poor man’s Antonio Brown (in the best way possible). NFL.com compares him to Marvin Harrison, which is also fair.
Ridley is smaller than you would think. He doesn’t even crack 200 pounds, and he is barely 6-feet tall. Still he gets by purely on speed and route running. Most receiver prospects coming out need some work on their route running due to being in a spread offense, but Ridley is ready to run whatever route he needs to. His mix of speed, quickness and route running get him open consistently.
Now that we have said good things about Ridley we can list off the bad. He needs to get stronger. He struggled with bump and run coverage at Alabama, and bigger corners were able have their way rerouting him all game long.
Ridley is 23-years-old and couldn’t finish his senior year at Alabama due to his age. It is nice because his body is fully developed, but if you are hoping he can get stronger or add on more weight, it’ll be harder for him than younger guys. With that said, the contract aspect probably won’t scare teams off as much because receivers can have careers past their 30s fairly easily.
Ridley is the best receiver in this draft, but it would be interesting to see how he would rank among the past few drafts, though. A team will be very happy with him as long as their expectations aren’t for him to be the next Green. You can plug him in right away, but he will take a few years before he can handle top receiver duties.
Will he turn out better than John Ross, the Bengals’ 2017 first round pick? We’ll find out in a few years... The Ravens seem very interested in his services, so maybe he’ll end up a division rival. It’s safe to say he won’t land in Cincinnati though.