On January 1, Calvin Ridley and the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Clemson Tigers in the Sugar Bowl. Since arriving in Tuscaloosa, there has been plenty of expectation for when he’d eventually enter the draft, but how will Ridley compare to fellow Alabama alumni when he makes the leap to the NFL?
As a high school recruit, there was no lack of hype for Calvin Ridley. According to 247Sports, Ridley was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2015 class. He was the sixth-best prospect in the state of Florida and the 12th-rated prospect in the country in the 247 Composite Rankings.
As you’d expect with the No. 1 receiver, Ridley had offers from nearly every relevant college program, but he committed to Alabama prior to his senior season.
Despite being a playoff team for each of Ridley’s three seasons, the team passing offense has gotten worse each year. That has allowed Ridley’s yardage share to remain steady as his raw yardage has declined.
|Year||Class||Receptions||Yards||TDs||MS Yards||MS TDs||Dominator|
Ridley made an immediate impact during his freshman season, accumulating over 1,000 receiving yards and seven touchdowns despite playing with O.J. Howard and Ardarius Stewart, players who have since joined the NFL. His 31 percent market share of yards led the team by more than 10 percent.
The noticeable change in Ridley’s stat line is his share of the touchdowns this season, but with at least one game remaining, he’ll have an opportunity to improve that part of his dominator rating. Even with his drop-off in touchdown contributions, Ridley is the clear leader of the team’s receiving. His 36 percent market share of yards is the highest of his career despite having his fewest receptions.
|Henry Ruggs III||7||175||25||5|
|Irv Smith Jr||13||122||9.4||3|
Ridley’s junior season significantly improved his projection using Kevin Cole’s Regression tree. In addition to maintaining his career market share over 29 percent, his final season yards per reception over 16 yards helped put him in a better final node for historical success rate.
CBS Sports ranks Ridley as the sixth-best WR and No. 41 overall prospect in the class with a second-round projection. He’s listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds by NFL Draft Scout with a median projected 40 time of 4.48 seconds. If he performs well at the combine or in the playoff, Ridley could see his draft stock rise into the first round.
Ridley turned 23 in December, and assuming his draft position holds as projected, he’ll join the following list of players drafted in the first two rounds at age 23 or older since 2000.
|2003||2||45||Bethel Johnson||24||NWE||39||606||4||Texas A&M|
|2014||1||28||Kelvin Benjamin||23||CAR||182||2614||19||Florida St.|
|2000||1||8||Plaxico Burress||23||PIT||553||8499||64||Michigan St.|
|2002||2||47||Andre' Davis||23||CLE||156||2470||17||Virginia Tech|
|2001||2||36||Chad Johnson||23||CIN||766||11059||67||Oregon St.|
|2001||2||33||Quincy Morgan||23||CLE||164||2466||17||Kansas St.|
|2008||2||36||Jordy Nelson||23||GNB||550||7848||69||Kansas St.|
|2005||2||55||Roscoe Parrish||23||BUF||134||1502||7||Miami (FL)|
|2000||2||36||Todd Pinkston||23||PHI||184||2816||14||Southern Miss|
|2012||2||33||Brian Quick||23||STL||111||1575||10||Appalachian St.|
|2002||2||62||Antwaan Randle El||23||PIT||370||4467||15||Indiana|
|2015||2||37||Devin Smith||23||NYJ||10||135||1||Ohio St.|
|2016||2||47||Michael Thomas||23||NOR||190||2288||14||Ohio St.|
|2002||1||20||Javon Walker||23||GNB||267||4011||31||Florida St.|
|2000||1||4||Peter Warrick||23||CIN||275||2991||18||Florida St.|
|2015||1||7||Kevin White||23||CHI||21||193||0||West Virginia|
|2004||1||31||Rashaun Woods||23||SFO||7||160||1||Oklahoma St.|
While “bust” names like Kevin White and Ryan Broyles stand out to pessimists, the list also includes highly successful players like A.J. Green, Roddy White, and Jordy Nelson. Ridley is likely going to be a mid-to-late first round pick in 2018 rookie draft with a decent landing spot. He’s not an elite level prospect like former Alabama receiver Amari Cooper, but his past high school pedigree and college production indicates an opportunity to succeed.