A look at who the Carolina Panthers may select first in the NFL Draft…
Calvin Ridley is a name that has been connected with several wide receiver-needy NFL teams and there are many reasons why the Carolina Panthers should select this Alabama wideout, if available.
Projected as the top player for his position by many, the likelihood of Ridley remaining on the board when general manager Marty Hurney selects at No. 24 is slim but that doesn’t mean Carolina couldn’t make a move in order to land the prospect, if warranted.
Following are a few reasons for why such a move could be beneficial in addition to how hard it would be to pass on the number one receiver if he remains.
Nick Saban likes him
If you don’t know who Nick Saban is, he’s basically the Greg Popovich (NBA) or Bill Belichick (NFL) of college football. While he didn’t have the most successful of NFL coaching careers, make no mistake, this guy is one of the best talent evaporators on the planet.
Recently, Saban likened Ridley to former NFL receiver, Drew Hill, who “played 14 seasons in the NFL, had five 1,000-yard seasons and made two Pro Bowls.” That’s perfect news for the Panthers, who really need a “Robin” opposite Devin Funchess as “Batman.”
While many will argue that Ridley’s size is a knock against him, it actually presents some advantages. His smaller, more agile body type will fare well in a Panthers offense attempting to diversify. The larger targets are already obvious: Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen. Ridley’s speed and smaller size will make him slippery to deal with.
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Consider the corners in the NFC South. Ridley will be, at best, a fourth receiving option for quarterback Cam Newton. Funchess, Olsen, and the newly acquired Torrey Smith are all more proven than him.
The corners of the NFC South haven’t been too impressive past New Orleans rising star, Marshon Lattimore. With the lack of corner depth in the NFC South, building the wide receiver depth will be critical to making the Panthers offense more potent.
If Ridley is there at No. 24, it will be extremely difficult for Hurney and the Panthers to ignore him.
His addition to an offense attempting to surround Newton with weapons will be another positive step towards making the Panthers offense invincible.