Calvin Ridley was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 26th pick of the 2018 National Football League Draft on Thursday. He will join former Alabama star Julio Jones on the Falcons’ roster.
Ridley is the third wide receiver who played for Nick Saban at Alabama to be drafted in the first round, following Amari Cooper in 2015 and Jones in 2011. He was the second wide receiver chosen in this year’s draft.
Ridley finished his career as one of Alabama’s most productive receivers. He had 224 career receptions, second only to Cooper’s 228. He had 2,781 receiving yards, the third most in school history. His 19 receiving touchdowns are second only to Cooper in Alabama history. He caught at least one pass in all 44 career games at Alabama.
He had 63 catches for 967 yards and five touchdowns as Alabama’s top receiving target this season. That earned him first-team All-SEC honors from the league coaches in 2017 and a handful of second-team All-America honors. Ridley was named second-team All-SEC in 2015 and 2016.
Ridley left Alabama after his junior season, but turned 23 years old in December. He’s closer in age to a senior or fifth-year player than an early entrant. He’ll turn 24 late during his rookie season in the NFL.