Alabama pro day: Calvin Ridley says he's NFL draft's best WR

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama WR Calvin Ridley didn't necessarily perform like the best receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft at the Scouting Combine last week, but the potential first-round pick's confidence remains unshaken.

"I do feel like I'm the best receiver in the draft," Ridley told NFL Network's Kimberly Jones on Wednesday at Alabama's pro day. "I just want to prove it."

Ridley's 4.43-second 40-yard dash tied for sixth-best among combine receivers, but he was displeased with the clocking and especially with his testing in other drills. His vertical jump was just 31 inches, which was among the worst recordings at his position in that event, and his 9-foot-2 broad jump was a position worst. Ridley ridiculed those events as a measure for football skill.

"I don't get into a receiver stance and broad jump before I run a route. Whoever gets me is getting a great player," Ridley said. "... I know I can beat all those scores by a lot, but (in training) I was trying to get ready for my 40, which I was upset about, too. I didn't have a great combine, not like I wanted to. I should've gone in there and just run the 40 and run routes, and done all the other stuff here (at pro day). ... Mistake."

Here are a few other things we learned from UA's pro day:

2) New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was among five NFL head coaches to gather at Alabama's pro day, furthering evaluations on a UA draft class that figures to once again place multiple prospects in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Five Alabama players are in the latest edition of NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 rankings -- the most of any school -- including DB Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 5), Ridley (No. 22), DT Da'Ron Payne (No. 24), LB Rashaan Evans (No. 27) and S Ronnie Harrison (No. 38).

On this day, however, the Tide's elite prospects were doing little more than position drills after performing at the combine just a few days ago. Alabama will hold a second pro day on March 28, which will give UA's top prospects more separation from the combine to train and improve upon their testing numbers.

The other NFL head coaches in attendance Wednesday: the Cincinnati Bengals' Marvin Lewis, Detroit Lions' Matt Patricia, Tennessee Titans' Mike Vrabel and Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin.

3) Ridley and Payne said they were unsure whether their agents had set up official visits to NFL teams yet, but a more obscure UA prospect has his first such date. WR Robert Foster, who tied for the third-fastest 40-yard dash at the combine among receivers with a 4.41, said he'll visit the New Orleans Saints on March 23.

4) Evans and Fitzpatrick offer NFL clubs plenty of versatility at their respective positions, and UA coach Nick Saban said that's a central element to their draft stock.

"The more things you can do from a versatility standpoint creates value for yourself in terms of the roles you can play for any team," Saban said. "Especially in the NFL, where you have a (more) limited roster, so guys have to know multiple roles in case somebody gets injured. Their versatility is a huge advantage for them."

5) New Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel was hands-on at the workout with a few of Alabama's defensive players. Vrabel strapped a dummy pad onto his arm and conducted position drills with UA's defensive linemen, including Payne and a less heralded combine participant in Josh Frazier. Evans worked in Vrabel's drill as well; although he's a linebacker, Evans is being scouted as a potential edge pass rusher by some clubs.

  1. General managers attending UA's pro day included Bob Quinn (Lions), Kevin Colbert (Steelers), Marty Hurney (Panthers), Rick Spielman (Vikings), and Jon Robinson (Titans), along with Redskins team president Bruce Allen.
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