Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley has an impressive pedigree to live up to. The last two top receivers, Julio Jones and Amari Cooper, to come out of Alabama quickly became impact players on the NFL, with Jones generally reckoned as one of the three best at his position in the league.
Their success buys a certain amount of cache for the next Alabama receiver. Ridley doesn’t have their physical abilities, but that didn’t stop him from breaking Cooper’s yardage record as a freshman.
The New York Giants might be in the market for a receiver to fill out their depth chart this spring. Might they swing for the fences and look at the receiver believed by many to be the best in the class?
- Polished route runner. Able to use his route running to gain separation.
- Good deep speed and quick in and out of his breaks. Commands respect from defensive backs.
- Sudden off the line. Little wasted movement at the start of his route.
- Hands catcher who presents a good target, frames the ball, and snatches it out of the air.
- Well coached and runs a variety of routes.
- Doesn’t have the size of a prototypical “number one” receiver.
- Lack of size will likely show up as a blocker or dealing with press coverage.
- Has good but not great speed.
- Receptions and touchdowns have declined since his freshman year.
What They’re Saying
SOURCES TELL US
“I haven’t seen them all yet, but I doubt anybody in this class will touch him at that position. You wish he was a little bigger and stronger, but he can get open on just about any route you want. I still think he’s a step below where Amari Cooper was coming out.” -- NFC team general manager
Does He Fit The Giants
Receivers who come in to the NFL as polished route runners have a tendency to have an impact early in their careers.
Ridley might not have the physical tools of Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, or Amari Cooper, but his blend of speed and quickness will be dangerous in the right offensive scheme. He set Alabama’s receiving record as a true freshman in 2015, and was still productive as the team moved (back) to a more run-focused offense in 2016.
Pat Shurmur’s offense focuses on putting playmakers in position to make plays, and as such Ridley would certainly be a fit. However, we also don’t know, at this point, how Dave Gettleman feels about smaller, quicker receivers. The point might be moot, as Ridley is likely to be the first (or possibly second) receiver off the board in April’s draft, and there likely wouldn’t be a value fit with the Giants.