2018 NFL Draft: Falcons select Calvin Ridley in first round

(AP photo)

With the No. 26 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected wide receiver Calvin Ridley from Alabama on Thursday night. Ridley joins an already dangerous receiving corps that includes Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

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WHY HE FITS

The Falcons could use another receiving threat for Matt Ryan and Ridley happens to be touted as the best at his position this year. The Falcons’ have their No. 1 and 2 receivers returning this season in Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, but there’s an opening for the No. 3 receiver spot. What Ridley lacks in athleticism, he makes up for in his precise route running ability and his ability to make plays after the catch.

SCOUTING REPORT

Ridley’s route running is seamless. His ability to get separation with his speed makes him a true down field threat. At 6-foot-1, 189 pounds, Ridley has a slightly smaller frame for the NFL game. But NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein says his “electric” play speed is what could make him one of the most productive receivers in the league. In three seasons at Alabama, 224 catches for 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns. 

DRAFT GRADES

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com

  • Grade: B
  • Comment: "They land a player who some thought was the best receiver in the draft. They do need more speed."

Mike Tanier, Bleacher Report

  • Grade: A-minus
  • Comment: "Ridley may not be a great wide receiver. But he’s almost guaranteed to be a good one, and with Jones occupying the defense’s attention and Matt Ryan getting him the ball, he’s going to be a blast to watch."

NFL COMPARISON

Marvin Harrison: Zierlein compares Ridley to Marvin Harrison, the longtime Colts wide receiver. Ridley has the straight-line speed that made Harrison such a dangerous receiver, and he already possesses great route-running ability that should translate to the NFL level fairly well.

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