Has good power and ability to get downhill. Has nice straight-line burst and speed and hits the hole. Picks up yards after contact and has good power to power through tackles. Flashes ability as a one-cut runner on the stretch play. Shows ability sidestep defender in the hole or in space. Has decent burst on a jump cut to bounce things.
Lacks ideal vision. Doesn't have great lateral burst and quickness. Not as effective when you get him going east and west. Not super shifty in the hole.
Ridley has good power and he's best working between the tackles. But he shows enough shiftiness and quickness on the outside to think he can be somewhat effective outside. Ridley has limited experience, having served as a reserve his first two years at LSU, combining for 57 carries for 272 yards (4.8 avg) and 4 touchdowns. Broke out this past year with 249 carries for 1147 yards (4.6 avg), 15 touchdowns, and 11 receptions, despite only starting 7 out of 13 games. Ridley worked in the LSU committee of backs, but was by far the best and most useful of the bunch. Was almost suspended for the Cotton Bowl due to academics, but was reinstated just before the game.
Ridley has good potential as a runner. He probably should have stayed at LSU for another year, but with the academic issues, I'm not surprised he came out. Not to mention the solid depth that LSU has at running back. He is a guy that I think can contribute as a complementary runner and a guy that can get 10-15 carries. He's more of a change of pace guy that offers nice power behind a speed back. In time, as he gets more work, he might start to move up the depth chart and be able to contribute as a lead back. He's not a true feature back, but a guy that five years down the road could be a 15-20 carry guy. While he's not the same style of runner as Brandon Jacobs, I could forsee him with a similar role. He is a guy that has the ability to play in a man or zone blocking scheme, although he's probably a better fit in the former because he's not super explosive and shifty. He works best between the tackles, when he can get north and south. I could see him developing as a 1,000-yard rusher down the road, but I don't see him being one of the top runners in the league.
Ridley has potential to develop as a runner in the Mularkey-based scheme. He's a bit of a project, but three or so years down the road he has a chance to succeed Turner as the Falcons top rusher. He'll probably need to get up in the 235-240 pound range and be more consistent between the tackles. He's raw in the passing game as he was spelled there at LSU, so he's not going to do a lot initially in Atlanta. But he has great potential as a rusher than Snelling does, and if the Falcons move on from Turner a few years down the road, he stands to be able to step into that role as the Falcons lead rusher. He won't be a dominant lead back, but a good stopgap potentially for two or three years that fits well behind the Falcons blocking scheme and with a powerful lead blocker in front of him.
Ridley has potential to develop as a rusher down the road, but because he doesn't give a lot in the passing game and is more of a long-term project, he's a tough value if taken before the fourth or fifth round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
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