In his most recent mock draft, NFL.com's Chad Reuter thinks offense for the Redskins in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the selection of Calvin Ridley.
NFL Draft experts have already projected two different wide receivers the Redskins should draft in the first round. Now, a third name has emerged.
NFL.com’s Chad Reuter believes Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley will fall to Washington, giving the team another reliable deep threat to pair with Josh Doctson and enhance the passing game.
Ridley, who stands at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, collected 55 receptions for 896 yards and three touchdowns in his junior season along with eight more catches and two more touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s two playoff games against Clemson and Georgia to help deliver them a National Championship.
To put his college career in better perspective, Ridey finished his three seasons at wideout second in Alabama history with 224 receptions and 19 receiving touchdowns and finished third in receiving yards with 2,781, compiling eight total 100-yard receiving games.
The First-team All-SEC selection had his biggest game of the year in a mid-season thriller against Mississippi State, where he grabbed a season-high 171 receiving yards on just five catches. It was a prime example of his explosiveness, as Ridley registered a 63-yard catch and run along with 61-yard and 31-yard receptions.
Ridley was the nation’s top receiver recruit in 2014 and set an Alabama school record as an All-SEC pick as a true freshman in 2015 with 1,045 receiving yards and a team-high 89 receptions. He remained a distinguished player despite his numbers diminishing a little in his sophomore and junior seasons, a byproduct of Alabama’s run-heavy offense. Among his strengths in his NFL Draft profile are his elite footwork, speed and separation skills.
“I doubt anybody in this class will touch him at that position,” said an NFC general manager. “You wish he was a little bigger and stronger, but he can get open on just about any route you want.”
“Ridley has game-changing talent complete with blazing speed and rare route-running ability for a college prospect,” writes Lance Zeurlein, who compares his potential to Marvin Harrison. “He ran the full route tree at Alabama, has experience working in a pro-style attack and is a plug-and-play starter on day one. He must improve his ability to defeat press corners off the snap or he'll become a feast or famine target. Ridley's elite speed and separation talent gives him the potential to become one of the more productive and dangerous receivers in the league.”
What concerns some is his smaller frame, which may limit Ridley’s ability to play all the wide receiver positions – teams might be wary of throwing over the middle for instance and would prefer that he stays away from contact as much as possible, becoming more of an outside deep threat.
According to Walter Football, the physicality is something Ridley will need to get better with as he’s pressed at the line of scrimmage by NFL defensive backs. But once he makes separation, he has the speed to outpace them.
“He is tough on defensive backs as he can put his foot in the ground and explode out of cuts. That explosion translates to Ridley also having a second gear to break downfield and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Ridley is a fast route-runner on short to intermediate routes, so he will be a nice third-down weapon as a pro to quickly uncover and present an open target for his quarterback. With his speed to run by defensive backs, Ridley stretches a defense over the top and is a true deep-threat receiver as well. He has the ability to take a slant to the house or run a go route and fly by defensive backs.”