2016 NFL Draft: 5 Late-Round Prospects the 49ers Should Target
Hassan Ridgeway, DT, Texas
Re-signing Ian Williams dampens the 49ers’ need on the defensive line, but late-round picks aren’t always based on filling holes, but on creating depth and drafting talented and interesting players. Hassan Ridgeway definitely qualifies as an interesting prospect.
Ridgeway is listed as a fourth- or fifth-round prospect by CBS, but I think he has the potential to become a good starter in the NFL, and not just a rotational piece. He has explosion, especially considering he’s a big man at 6’3” and 303 pounds, and surprising athleticism to go with it. Single blocks were not enough to contain him at the college level, and even double-teams had a hard time moving him off of his spot. He’s an honest-to-goodness interior pass rusher, meaning I think he could play well both as a nose tackle in a base set, but also as more of a rusher in a four-man front or a nickel situation.
He has conditioning issues, which is why his stock isn’t as high as it could be—he suffered through a bunch of nagging injuries last season, and thus didn’t look as good as his physical traits would lead you to believe last season. He needs to be put into a program that keeps him motivated and working in the offseason and focuses on conditioning and health during the season—something that Chip Kelly prides himself on. In the right environment, Ridgeway could become a very interesting addition to a team.
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