(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2018 NFL Draft isn't until April 26, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospect, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Alabama's Calvin Ridley.)
- Name: Calvin Ridley
- Position: Wide Receiver
- Height/Weight:6-0 / 198
- Honors: All-SEC performer finished three-year career ranked third in school history in receiving yards (2,781) and second in receptions (324).
- Key Stat:Ridley caught at least one pass in all 44 of his collegiate games.
Where He's Projected:
Mid-to-late first round is usually where Ridley is showing up on mock draft boards right now. Most analysts rank him as the No. 1 receiver in this draft with Maryland's D.J. Moore coming in as a close second. With the Cowboys having the No. 19 pick, Ridley is being mocked around 15 to some teams and as far as 25-26 in others. Obviously, he's a strong candidate to be picked by the Cowboys, who not only need a receiver but he would fit into their range.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
The Cowboys haven't drafted a receiver in the first round since Dez Bryant, who was released on Friday. Not only that, but there is a need for a playmaking receiver and Ridley fits that description. In three years at Alabama, he produced 2,781 yards, with at least 769 yards each season. He always scored five touchdowns. The Cowboys need a speedy deep threat and Ridley certainly would provide that and more.
- One of the best route runners in the draft. Physically reminds me of Marvin Harrison from the Colts.
- Ideally would play him as the "Z" receiver. The more that you can put him on the move, the better he plays. Explosive player.
- Can really separate from the defensive back. Smooth runner. No wasted motion. Can be elusive with the ball in his hands. Gets in and out of breaks quickly.
- Can drive his man off by the way he comes off the line. Closes cushion well.
- Catches the ball in his hands well. Can make adjusting receptions. Will go high or low for the ball.
- Plays with balance. Shows sideline awareness in how he works his feet. Knows how to find space in the end zone.
- Made his quarterback better in the way he did his job. Ball was all over the place and he still made plays.