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2018 Prospect Primer: WR Calvin Ridley

Posted Feb 21, 2018

The Alabama-product is regarded as the best wide receiver in the draft with his blazing speed, stellar route running abilities and his ability to create separation.

Ridley started fast at the University of Alabama. He was only eligible to play in three games his senior year of high school due to age restrictions, but in those three games, he caught 18 passes for 420 yards and four touchdowns. He earned Second-Team All-SEC honors the next year, setting an Alabama school record with 1,045 receiving yards and caught a team-high 89 receptions in 15 games (11 of which he started).

In the national semifinal that year against Michigan State, the wiry receiver caught eight passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. His stats have fluctuated since, but in 2017 he was able to secure First-Team All-SEC honors after 63 receptions, 967 yards and five touchdowns of work.

According to NFL.com, Ridley’s strengths are in his strides and transitions. He easily beats opposing cornerbacks because of his ability to create separation and his speed is consistent. NFL.com also made mention of his ability to use a subtle head movement to throw defenders out of position.

His frame leaves something to be desired according to some experts. He is easily thrown off by contact from defenders, leading scouts to question if he can catch in NFL traffic, according to NFL.com. But his specialty is making himself available, he’s able to find open space in broken plays or scrambles so it will just be a question if he can do that effectively at the next level.

He’s drawn an NFL comparison to Marvin Harrison and his speed and route-running ability make him the best receiver in this year’s class. If he can get better about defeating press corners, he has the speed and separation to be an elite NFL receiver, according to analysts.

NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Ridley going at No. 24 to the Carolina Panthers.