In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens, with the 16th overall pick, should select Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Calvin Ridley, if he is available. In three seasons at Alabama, Ridley has tallied 220 receptions, 2749 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns. His production has also come in the SEC, one of college football’s top conferences.
In examining a possible Ridley pick, one can’t miss his attributes. Ridley is 6-foot-1, 188 pounds, a sharp route-runner, a very good athlete, explosive and has good, consistent hands. His ability to produce as much as he has in big games against top talent is something worth looking at. In addition, Ridley, in a run-first offense, is still putting up impressive numbers.
There are other intriguing receivers that could be set to enter the 2018 NFL Draft, including Courtland Sutton and Christian Kirk. Both receivers are interesting prospects. Sutton sits at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, has good hands, is a solid route runner and is a mismatch problem. Kirk is 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, has great speed, a good route runner and is explosive.
However, Ridley is more complete of a player. Sutton doesn’t have Ridley’s speed and Kirk doesn’t have the strength. Ridley has the speed, strength, explosiveness and route running ability that Baltimore should be enamored with. Not to mention, he’s an Alabama prospect. Since becoming the Ravens general manager in 2002, Ozzie Newsome has drafted seven Alabama players, which is his alma mater.
The Ravens finished ninth in scoring (24.7 per game) and 29th in passing yards per game (189.4). None of their receivers ended the season with 800 yards or more, with the top receiver being Mike Wallace. Tight end Benjamin Watson finished with four touchdowns, tying Wallace. Both are set to become free agents. Baltimore also has wide receiver Michael Campanaro and tight end Crockett Gillmore up for free agency this season.
Currently set to be on Baltimore’s roster for the 2018 season is Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore, Tim White, Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle and Darren Waller. Among these players, White (injury) and Waller (suspension) didn’t play and between Maclin, Perriman, Moore, Williams and Boyle, they only totaled 1,054 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
With these losses set to come on the offensive side of the ball, having a lack of playmakers who are under contract for 2018 and missing the playoffs for a third straight season, Baltimore will have to make a decision that can make or break their franchise. Ridley has a chance to be a franchise-altering type of player with his abilities.
Baltimore cannot afford to miss again or it could cost head coach John Harbaugh his job.