Alabama head Nick Saban discusses the pro prospects of some of his players including dynamic wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Ridley shows off his precision route-running at Alabama’s Pro Day 

The Crimson Tide wide receiver was elated with his showing at the NFL scouting combine, which was held last week in Indianapolis. Enough so that he was will to joke about it.

“Not that good,” Ridley said when asked about his combine experience. “No, I’m just kidding. It was good. But that week is kind of tough. I was real tired or whatever. It was alright.”

Ridley was at home while running routes during Alabama’s Pro Day workout at the Hank Crisp indoor facility.

“He had a good day,” said one scout from an NFC North team. “Smooth, quick and he caught the ball well.” 

Ridley agreed. 

“I definitely can work on a couple of things,” Ridley said. “I video (taped) it. I’m going to look at it, but I felt that I did real good. I caught all of the passes. I was in and out of my breaks pretty good.”

Ridley, who was a second-team Associated Press All-American last season, elected to bypass all of the combine drills, including re-running the 40-yard dash, at the Pro Day.

He stood on his 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash at the combine. 

Ridley, who contends that he’s the top wide receiver in the draft, was pleased with his interviews with NFL teams at the combine. 

“That part was pretty good,” Ridley said. “I had a lot of fun meeting a lot of great coaches and people in the room. I think I did really well in those (interview) rooms.” 

Among wide receivers, Ridley is ranked first, Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk second and Southern Methodist’s Courtland Sutton third by NFLDraftScout.com. 

“(Ridley) and Kirk are the two best route runners in this class,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “Neither of them has great size, but they're both fast and quick. They run great routes. Ridley's challenge is going to be the complexities of defensive schemes in the NFL.”

Ridley measured 6-foot and weighed 189 pounds at the combine. Kirk is 5-10 and 201 and Sutton is 6-3 and 218 pounds.  

Some teams consider Sutton the top receiver in the class because he’s bigger.  

“You’re talking about two completely different guys,” said Mayock about Ridley and Sutton. “Both can fit into any system. Sutton doesn’t run a route tree. He’s not 230 pounds. ... He’s not Michael Evans. He’s not the 230-pound guy that runs 4.53. He’s more of an outside-the numbers, jump ball, back-shoulder-fade guy.”

Ridley was a three-year starter at Alabama. 

“Ridley is completely different,” Mayock said. “He can come in day one and be your starting slot. He’s so tough and so quick that if he and (Chicago quarterback Mitch) Trubisky can get on the same page, he’ll be his best friend.

“Now I don’t know if he’s going eighth. That’s kind of high. But last year, I didn’t have any wide receivers in my top 20 and they went, what, five, seven and nine.”

During his combine interviews, Ridley was pushing for the top spot. 

“They are going to get a good player in me,” Ridley said. “I’m going to come in and work hard. I’m coming in and I feel I can play right away.”

Ridley will try to match the NFL success of former Alabama receivers Julio Jones and Amari Cooper. 

“I think he can (play all positions),” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “He certainly ran well at the combine, and his production here has been fantastic.”

Ridley will have to show that he can get off press coverage in the NFL. 

“He’s got enough speed to get on top of people,” Saban said. “He’s got great one-step quickness out of a break, and it doesn’t take him long to accelerate out of the break.

“He’s got really good hands. He’s a very consistent performer. He’s tough.”

Head coaches in attendance included New England’s Bill Belichick, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Detroit’s Matt Patricia, Cincinnati’s Marvin Lewis and Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel.

Also, front office executives include Minnesota’s Rick Spielman, Washington’s Doug Williams and Bruce Allen, Carolina’s Marty Hurney, Pittsburgh’s Kevin Colbert, Detroit’s Bob Quinn and Tennessee’s Jon Robinson.

Former University of Tennessee coach Butch Jones, who was fired in November, was helping out and dressed in Alabama gear. 

“I don’t know where that is,” Saban said about adding Jones to his staff. “We have issues that we have to go through to be able to hire somebody from another school and I haven’t gotten a report on where that is right now. We are interested in him being a part of our staff.”

X