Calvin Ridley enters the draft as the top wide receiver prospect coming out of college this year. The Alabama receiver has all the tools to be successful at the NFL level and has drawn comparisons to his former alum, Amari Cooper and also Reggie Wayne. Projected as a mid-first round pick, Ridley will be an immediate starter for whoever drafts him.
At 6-foot-1 and 188lbs, Ridley doesn’t have ideal size for the position and there are concerns that his size means he’ll struggle against physical corners, but he is a polished route runner and explosive athlete, so any inch given by a defensive back will be maximised.
Alongside his route running, Ridley has great hands and high points the ball when catching, helping him get over the top of double teams and long cornerbacks. Despite his slight frame, Ridley is also not afraid of taking on contact to make those extra yards when he could go out of bounds.
Ridley is also a proven winner. Three consecutive trips to the national title game with Alabama and two victories, Ridley will not be afraid of the big stage. It may look like he lacks production during his time with Alabama but he played with a quarterback who threw less than 20 passes a game and just over 2000 yards in 2017 on a run-first team who prioritizes defense.
Ridley’s College Stats
Best Fantasy Fits
- San Francisco 49ers: I think it’s unlikely that the 49ers will pull the trigger at No. 9 on a receiver with needs all over the team, but pairing Jimmy Garoppolo with young and talented receiver would be all the fun. Ridley would get a lot of looks as the 49ers default number one receiver and the pairing would add intrigue to what looks to be an ascending 49ers team in 2018.
- Arizona Cardinals: Staying in the NFC West, Ridley’s most likely fit would be with the Cardinals, unless they go all in and trade up for a quarterback. Adding Ridley to an offense alongside Larry Fitzgerald and the returning David Johnson would give the Cardinals offense a big shot in the arm compared with 2017. Ridley would immediately be the number one guy on the outside and if Sam Bradford can stay healthy, Ridley would also be catching passes from one of the league’s most accurate quarterbacks, which would boost his fantasy stocks in year one.
- Dallas Cowboys: Ridley would fill an immediate need and provide an instant upgrade at wide receiver with the Cowboys parting ways with Dez Bryant this week. It would make for an exciting young offense in Dallas, with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot, plus free agent receiver Allen Hurns playing a number two role to the explosive Ridley. The question is, would Ridley make it all the way to 19, or would the Cowboys be willing to move up to get him?