A scenario that could cause Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley to fall to the Carolina Panthers…
The general consensus held by most analysts is that the Carolina Panthers were merely a receiver away from a deeper playoff run during the 2017 season. While frustrating for the Panthers fan base, who witnessed their season slip through the fingertips of a makeshift receiver core, there is hope through free agency, trades and the upcoming NFL Draft. There are a variety of wide receivers available but only one prospect could transform the Carolina offense with their first-round pick.
His name is Calvin Ridley from the University of Alabama.
According to these ESPN statistics, Ridley has accumulated an impressive 224 receptions, 2,781 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns in his three years with the Crimson Tide. He checks in at 6-foot-1 and weighs 190 pounds. While some will point to Ridley’s physical build (or rather lack thereof) as a red flag, his speed and strong hands present more value than size to the Panthers offense, which features plenty of size in tight end Greg Olsen and wide receiver Devin Funchess. Unfortunately, the odds of him falling to the Panthers, who own the No. 24 overall pick in the draft, are extremely low.
While it is highly unlikely for Ridley to fall dramatically down the board on day one, anything can happen, just another reason the NFL Draft is so entertaining. According to this article by NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein, there are six teams that pick before the Panthers that could take a wide receiver. They are the New York Jets (No. 6), Chicago Bears (No. 8), San Francisco 49’ers (No. 9 or 10), Green Bay Packers (No. 14), Arizona Cardinals (No. 15) and the Baltimore Ravens (No. 16).
Even though it remains very likely that Ridley will be taken by any of those six teams, let’s imagine a scenario plays out in which Ridley is available to the Panthers when on the clock.
More from Cat Crave
- Ranking the top-five QB prospects the Panthers could draft in 2023
- 4 remaining Carolina Panthers cap crunches after Damien Wilson release
- Could Duce Staley help Carolina Panthers land Jamaal Williams in 2023?
- How much could the Carolina Panthers afford to offer Lamar Jackson?
- 4 Panthers rumors to emerge from 2023 NFL Scouting Combine
- The Jets could and should choose to address their quarterback situation. Also, they have need everywhere on their roster, so drafting the best player available would be smart.
- The Bears could draft a defensive back in favor of solidifying their secondary. Talent such as Joshua Jackson, Denzel Ward, or Minkah Fitzpatrick might be available.
- The 49ers could choose to surround Jimmy Garrappolo, their new $137.5 million dollar quarterback, with offensive linemen. Additionally, the 49ers secondary is vulnerable to the pinpoint quarterbacks of the NFC West like Russell Wilson and Jared Goff, so a safety or a corner wouldn’t be unwarranted.
- The Packers could invest their top pick in a defensive back instead of a wide receiver as their secondary has been a glaring weakness for years. Also, an investment in a premium pass rusher would go a long way against the strong offensive lines of the NFC North.
- The Cardinals could invest in an offensive guard in order to provide more protection for whatever quarterback they find themselves with or may draft the best quarterback available.
- The Ravens could fall in love with a mismatch tight end as that position has been lacking in their offense for years.
Before the hype train takes off on a Cam Newton-Calvin Ridley connection, seriously consider that any of these teams could also be enticed by the unique skill set that he possesses.
Should Ridley be taken higher, it’s probably best for the Panthers to provide depth at other key positions.