Last night, we ran a story on the two running backs that the Patriots selected in the second and third rounds of the draft. As we work to continue to get the "fan grades" for each pick, we realized that we skipped over Stevan Ridley last night (as there can only be one poll per story).
So, what is your grade for the Stevan Ridley pick? For those wondering, I gave the pick a "B-" at the time. Here was my explanation for the grade:
The selection of Stevan Ridley with the 73rd pick was probably the most surprising and head scratching pick of the day for the Patriots. That doesn't mean I didn't like it, I did. But personally, I thought there were some intriguing options for the front seven still on the board (Allen Bailey in particular), but obviously, Bill Belichick rated Ridley highly.
Don't get me wrong - there are some things to like about Ridley. If Shane Vereen is your lightning, then Stevan Ridley is your thunder. Ridley stands at just over 5'11" and 225 pounds. He is a very powerful runner with good vision. He breaks a lot of tackles and actually is a little bit more nimble than you would expect for a player of his size. Ridley also has played some fullback, originally going to LSU at that position. He doesn't have a tremendous amount of experience as a lead blocker, but I expect him to improve in that area. He is also a very solid special teams player who could likely play on all four units. In other words (and as Rich alluded to earlier), he is the Sammy Morris replacement (without the receiving skills).
Sure, he's not an explosive outside runner. He only runs a 4.65. But what he will do is be a power runner for the Patriots that helps wear down defenses in the second halves of games.