Hassan Ridgeway, DL
School: Texas | Conference: Big 12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 303 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Second or Third Round
NFL Comparison: Tyrunn Walker
Nobody knows what to make of Hassan Ridgeway. I've seen some analysts project him as a first-round, and I've seen others put him near the end of the third round. His talent is worthy of a first-round pick, but he's struggled to stay fully healthy over the years, and there are a lot of questions about his conditioning.
Here's an alarming fact: Ridgeway ran an 8.28s 3-cone drill at the Combine, then put in a 7.33s showing at his Pro Day, where he also knocked .13s from his 20-yard shuttle, even though he clocked in four pounds heavier. This could mean so many things. Maybe he was upset with his showing at the Combine and worked to improve his agility in between the events. Maybe he just had a bad day at the Combine. Maybe he was more comfortable, or got favorable timing, at his home field.
It also hurts him that this defensive line class is so deep; even with his questions, he'd probably be a lock for the second round at latest in most other drafts. This draft features about a dozen d-linemen than could go in the first or second round, and many of them have higher floors than Ridgeway — albeit many with lower ceilings — and that might result in a slide for Ridgeway.
- While his production dipped some in 2015, his numbers in both 2014 and 2015 are respectable, especially the 9.5 sacks — that's impressive for a guy of his size.
- He does a good job changing directions when a play goes away from him. If he's pushing toward the middle for a run and the offense dumps off a screen pass to his side, Ridgeway flips his his and shows remarkable quickness getting to the outside.
- He's a versatile big man, having played both on the inside and outside at Texas, in both a 3-4 and 4-3 at times.
- Ridgeway has a knack for keeping his eyes on the quarterback. You can tell because he always has his hands up trying to bat down throws.
- Remember that significant improvement in his agility drills? Well, he definitely has the leg strength for the better times. His broad and vertical jumps at the Combine were strong, especially considering his size, and he looks much faster than his 5.02 40 time would suggest.
#Texas DT Hassan Ridgeway runs 5.02 at 303-pounds at #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/EBri4Wicnh— Gerry Hamilton (@HamiltonESPN) February 28, 2016
- You can't read a scouting report on the guy without hearing about his conditioning problems. He gets knocked for taking some plays off, he wasn't on the field as much as scouts would have liked him to be and he has struggled to keep his weight down at times.
- He has some injury history, having missed parts of at least two games in 2015 with back, shoulder and ankle injuries, and he was reportedly hampered by injuries throughout the season, even when he was playing. This has been cited as a reason for his decline in production from 2015 to 2014, but the more likely reason is he played more as a tackle than an edge rusher in his junior season.
- Ridgeway took some heat for declaring for the draft early, and there are questions about his maturity. Another year at Texas, ideally with a clean slate of health, would have worked wonders for him.
How He Would Fit on the Redskins
I like him much more as a defensive tackle than I do as an edge rusher, and I like him much more in the second round or later than I do anywhere earlier. On the interior of the line, especially with a Scot McCloughan team, he can remain on the bigger side and not be forced to monitor his weight so conservatively.
Ridgeway has all the signs of being a bust in a bad situation, but the Redskins — brace yourself — have a good environment for him. If he slips to the third round, I love the idea of bringing him in to be a rotational piece in 2016 with an eye toward competing for a starting role in 2017.
That said, I can't stop picturing him going to the New England Patriots and becoming a terror for years to come. The Patriots need interior d-line help and have been doing their due diligence and more in scouting early-round talent along the line, and they have just the kind of locker room Ridgeway would thrive in.