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Calvin Ridley's Stock May Be Dropping After Combine, Which Could Help Ravens


Throughout the pre-draft chatter thus far, the assumption has been that the Ravens don't have a high enough pick to get the top prize at wide receiver – Alabama's Calvin Ridley.

After the NFL Scouting Combine, however, that may be changing. Ridley may very well be there at No. 16 after all – no trade-ups needed.

ESPN's Todd McShay released his third mock draft Wednesday morning and has Ridley landing in Baltimore.

Despite projecting two other wide receivers going in the first round – Maryland's D.J. Moore at No. 29 (Jacksonville Jaguars) and D.J. Chark at No. 32 (Philadelphia Eagles) – McShay said Ridley is his only wide receiver with a first-round grade.

"I like Calvin Ridley a lot," McShay said. "He's a first-round talent in any draft."

Now for the reasons why Ridley may be sliding …

He ran a very good, but not spectacular, 40-yard dash at 4.43 seconds, which was tied for sixth among the Combine's wide receivers. For a player who looks very fast on tape, it was what he needed to run.

What was surprising was that Ridley had the second-worst vertical jump (31 inches) and worst broad jump among all the wideouts. He also didn't do well in the 20-yard shuttle.

"What he did in the vertical jump and broad jump is a little alarming," McShay said. "And even the short shuttle, 4.41, they're not times or results that match up with what you see on tape."

Ridley isn't the physical specimen that former first-round wide receivers have been. He's wiry at 6-foot-0 and 189 pounds, which leads to questions about whether he'll be strong enough to get off press coverage from big NFL corners.

But what he does possess is a whole lot of polish, which he showed off Wednesday at Alabama's Pro Day.

"From a route-running standpoint, I think Ridley is one of the better college route-runners that I've ever evaluated," McShay said. "He knows how to get off press, he's crafty, he's quick. His game is built on quickness, lateral agility and speed."

His route-running is also what Ridley told media members at the Combine is his greatest strength.

He said he most closely compares himself to Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who is built like him and also wins with savvy. Ridley said he also looks up to Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown and former Alabama teammate and Oakland Raider Amari Cooper.

Ridley called himself a "perfectionist" when it comes to his route-running.

"I feel like I'm a great route-runner," he said. "I'm patient in my routes and identify coverages pretty good, and I get in and out my breaks pretty good. I beat defenders pretty well, get great separation.

"I know I'm not the biggest guy, but that doesn't matter. I'm a ball player. I make plays. I'm going to make plays regardless."

Ridley may be a case of having better film than measurables.

The top recruit in the nation coming out of high school, Ridley averaged 75 catches for 927 yards and six touchdowns over his three college seasons.

His biggest year was as a freshman (89 receptions, 1,045 yards, seven touchdowns). His production trailed off in part because Alabama's offense leaned heavily on the read-pass option. His production per catch was best during his junior season.

"I think between the ability to separate as a route-runner and then his ability to create after the catch gives him some home-run potential," McShay said.

"There are a lot of teams out there with quarterbacks that rely on guys getting open quickly and then creating yards after the catch because they're not Tom Brady and they're not Aaron Rodgers. For any of those teams, Ridley would be a real positive and upgrade."

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