The 2018 NFL Draft may be 10 months away, but that won’t stop analysts from diving into the likely class of prospects and making preseason comps to established NFL veterans — past and present — to better explain a player’s style.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks did just that this week, comparing Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley to former Indianapolis Colts standout Reggie Wayne.
If I had to compare Ridley to a high-level NFL receiver, I would compare him to former NFL great Reggie Wayne based on his size and playing style. Ridley is so smooth and effortless in his actions that he reminds me of the six-time Pro Bowl receiver during his time with the Indianapolis Colts. While I’m reluctant to put that kind of expectation on Ridley’s game or potential career, I firmly believe he is a natural plug-and-play receiver capable of making his mark immediately as a pro.
Brooks has done some great work so far in the early stages of the 2018 NFL Draft scouting process, and his breakdown of Ridley’s game is no exception.
Of all the receivers I’ve had a chance to get an early look at, Ridley is the most appealing. The only concern with him as a prospect is his thinner-than-ideal frame, but even that’s a bit of a stretch.
Ridley is a smooth route-runner and an exciting playmaker with the ball in his hands. There will be some receivers with more size and others with more speed, but few pass-catchers in next year’s draft will offer the full complement of traits that Ridley possesses.
Assuming he can stay healthy in 2017, Ridley should finish the year at or near the top of the list of receivers eligible for next April’s NFL Draft.