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NFL Draft prospect to know: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

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Suddenly, it appears as if the Cowboys need a WR. Could that be Alabama’s Calvin Ridley?

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Blogging The Boys will begin taking a look at some of the NFL Draft prospects that will be in the 2018 NFL Draft class. We’ll try to do this on a Friday night or Saturday morning so you can pay attention to that player in their next game if you should so choose. Some weeks, we will look at potential targets that will be within the Cowboys’ expected draft range. Others, we will highlight some of the elite members of the class.

With the way the Cowboys have been playing these last three games, I know many of y’all are very interested in familiarizing yourself with some of the top prospects in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. In fact, if the draft was today, the Cowboys would be on the clock at 15.

Going by the quality of play in their recent three-game skid, it my feel like the Cowboys should have a Top 5 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. But their 5-6 record means that if the draft were held today, the Cowboys would be picking 15th overall.

So, let BTB introduce you to prospects that you should keep an one throughout the process.

This week is our 11th installment of this series since beginning in the middle of September. We have largely focused on defensive players (two defensive ends, three defensive tackles, one linebacker, and two cornerbacks), but we have also looked at a pair of offensive players as well (one offensive tackle and one wide receiver).

With the offensive struggles since the Zeke suspension was enforced, maybe the offense does need to be addressed in some capacity early in the draft. It would not hurt giving Dak some more weapons to play with as he continues to grow as a quarterback.

If the Cowboys opt to give Prescott a shiny new toy, here is one candidate that should be at the top of the Cowboys’ draft boards.

Calvin Ridley — wide receiver, Alabama Crimson Tide

6-foot-1
190
Junior

Alabama v Florida State Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

One of the elite wide receiver prospect in the upcoming draft class comes from, perhaps, the best program in all of college football: The University of Alabama.

Nick Saban has done an elite job of not only building national championship contenders year in and year out, but also preparing his star-studded talent into bonafide NFL prospects. The likes of Julio Jones, Landon Collins, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Amari Cooper come to mind. It appears as if the next top playmaker from the Crimson Tide is Calvin Ridley.

Calvin Ridley is your typical Alabama recruit: a five-star player that had offers from anybody and everybody across the nation. The Miami, Florida, native decided to go out-of-state to play for Saban in the 2015 recruiting class. Ever since he stepped onto campus in Tuscaloosa, Ridley has been a star.

The 2015 season, Ridley’s debut season on the college level, saw him play in all 15 of the Tide’s games. The freshman wideout totaled impressive numbers across the board in his first season: catching 89 passes for a whopping 1,045 yards and seven touchdowns. His best game was on the big stage. Ridley caught nine passes for 138 yards and scored twice against the Michigan State Spartans in the College Football Playoff semifinal right here at AT&T Stadium. He was a consensus Freshman All-American and was named to the SEC’s second-team for his eye-popping year.

Ridley didn’t put up the same quality of numbers in 2016, but the sophomore receiver was again one of the most explosive players in the nation. The wideout caught 72 passes for 769 yards while matching his touchdown numbers from the season prior. He also added a score on the ground. While the numbers weren’t quite as huge as his unbelievably impressive freshman campaign, Ridley cemented himself as one of the nation’s best at his position.

The Alabama receiver has not missed a beat in 2017. So far this season, Ridley has caught a total of 52 passes for 858 yards and three touchdowns through 11 games. He is averaging 16.5 (!) yards each time he touches the football. He torched my beloved Mississippi St. Bulldogs en route to catching five catches for a crazy 171 yards. That’s 34.2 yards per reception. Ridley has totaled at least 15 yards per reception five separate times this season: 30.7 vs. Colorado State, 15.0 vs. Ole Miss, 20.3 vs. LSU, the aforementioned 34.2 vs. Mississippi State, and 34.3 last weekend against Mercer.

Needless to say, Calvin Ridley is the definition of a big time playmaker.

What do the draft experts have to say about the Alabama superstar?

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller has Ridley going twelfth overall to the Cleveland Browns in his post-trade deadline mock draft that he released earlier this month.

12. Cleveland (from Houston): WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

Whoever is playing quarterback for Cleveland next season will need more talent around him at wide receiver. Even though this front office has spent a large number of picks and money on receivers, it's still a massive need. Calvin Ridley is a natural route-runner and pass-catcher with No. 1 receiver potential.

Cowboys Wire’s K.D. Drummond has the Cowboys selecting the electrifying wideout with the 17th pick using FanSpeak’s On The Clock Premium Simulator. Here are Drummond’s thoughts on Ridley:

Ridley isn’t the next Julio Jones, but he could have a similar impact on the Cowboys offense as the former Crimson Tide star did for Atlanta. Pairing Ridley with Dez Bryant could reinvigorate the Cowboys offense and give Dak Prescott another dynamic receiving option. The key here is Ridley’s route-running ability to go along with great hands, two talents the team doesn’t have with its current group.

Calvin Ridley is an explosive playmaking wide receiver that possesses blazing speed, reliable hands, and polished route running for a player at his stage. He appears to be the ideal fit for an offensive looking to take the next level with a young quarterback leading the charge.

Make sure to check Ridley out as the Crimson Tide take on the Auburn Tigers at 3:30 ET on CBS in one the most bitter and intense rivalries in all of sports.




Ridley has the potential to be a game-breaking talent in the NFL — hopefully for America’s Team. What do you think, BTB?

*Gifs courtesy of 15Tmorales (video included above) and stats gathered from sports-reference.com

Catch up with our previous installments below!

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Austin Bryant, DE Clemson

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Tarvarus McFadden, CB Florida State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Martinas Rankin, OL Mississippi State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Daron Payne, DT, Alabama

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia