Alabama Crimson Tide Continues To Birth Great Wide Receivers

The Alabama Crimson Tide is mostly known as a defensive powerhouse, but once in a while, they sneak a few offensive weapons into the NFL. This season is one of those years. While analysts were high on Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, or Saquon Barkley, one name went unmentioned — Calvin Ridley.

If one has to try to picture who Ridley is, all they have to do is think Julio Jones or Amari Cooper. Yes, all three wide receivers attended the same school, played the same position, and at a closer look, had very similar collegiate careers. While with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Jones caught 179 passes for 2,653 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons. Cooper caught 228 passes for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns in the same span as well. Ridley, in his career with Alabama, caught 224 passes for 2,781 yards and 19 touchdowns also in three years.

When Jones declared in 2011, he entered the draft with the likes of Cam Newton, Von Miller, and AJ Green. While Jones would go sixth to the Atlanta Falcons in 2011, he sure has made his mark in the NFL as arguably the best receivers in the league. Cooper has emerged as the Oakland Raiders true No. 1 threat since being drafted in 2015. Neither player has disappointed and that’s one of the reasons why the Ridley drop was so confusing.

 Matt Rourke / AP Images

Yes, Ridley is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, but how many big hits have you seen Ridley take over the years? One of the bright spots about Ridley, Jones, and Cooper during their collegiate years is that they have played on teams not known for their passing offense. The Alabama Crimson Tide teams built by Nick Saban is all about the run and defense. However, look at the receivers who have come through those doors and look what they have done in the NFL.

 Kelvin Kuo / AP Images

Can any scout honestly say they would take Green over Jones or take the same risk the Oakland Raiders did with Cooper in 2015 with the No. 4 pick? Who knows why Ridley fell so far in the draft and Jones and Cooper went so high. His selection should be used as motivation for his rookie year. Couple that with learning from one of the best in the game, and Ridley’s production will continue the great history of Alabama wide receivers in the NFL. Do you want to know how special those players have been? Look at what Cooper and Jones have done combined since coming to the NFL.

We’re talking 141 regular season games, 788 receptions, and 61 touchdowns so far. Remember, this is from receivers who came from a school not known for their receiver production. While their collegiate numbers were great, neither were supposed to be this dynamic. Where will Ridley fit into the grand scheme of things? That remains to be seen but if he follows in Julio Jones and Amari Cooper’s footsteps, the sky’s the limit for these Alabama Crimson Tide players.

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