Texas defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway is a player the Detroit Lions have spent a great deal of resources in scouting this year. Defensive line coach Kris Kocurek ran his pro day workout, and the team met with Ridgeway at the Combine as well.
- 303 pounds
- 33” arms
- 24 bench press reps
- 32” vertical, 9’5” broad jumps
The Mansfield, TX native had an up-and-down career for the Longhorns. In 2014 he was an impact talent, a gifted disruptor next to 2015 Patriots first-rounder Malcolm Brown. Ridgeway bagged 6.5 sacks and 9.5 TFLs that year. The numbers fell in 2015 as he played more strictly as a 1-technique and had less talent around him, producing just 3.5 sacks and 6.5 TFLs.
At his best, Ridgeway is a 3-technique and that would be the role I envision for him in Detroit. While he can anchor and has some two-gap potential, he’s better in more of a playmaking role.
Note his athleticism to quickly react to the blocking miscue and the burst to finish the play. Ridgeway’s ability to attack to the inside or outside gap means blockers cannot get comfortable or overset one way or the other.
Another big strength is his ability to stack the line without giving himself up as a potential tackler. He establishes control with his big punch and can usually get some initial surge to control the line of scrimmage. Ridgeway can peel off the block and make the play too, capable of getting out on the screen and cleaning up the scrambling QB or cutback run. He’s also adept at making himself skinny to wedge the double team.
The powerful hands and shoulders definitely stand out. In fact, he bears some stylistic–and body type–resemblance to current Lion Tyrunn Walker. Ridgeway can follow his initial burst with strong foot frequency for a bigger guy. He doesn’t miss many tackling opportunities and can make the one-arm wrap tackle consistently.
Durability has been the biggest issue plaguing Ridgeway. He has missed drives–and games–here and there throughout his entire career with a litany of minor injuries, including back problems. Those tend to not go away forever. Also, his conditioning has never been great. Ridgeway will be effective in blasts but then clearly fatigue and essentially just occupy space on the field. Some of that is on the Texas coaching staff for not rotating him out properly, but he needs to get himself into better shape and take conditioning more seriously.
The burst off the snap is inconsistent. It’s partially attributable to his conditioning, but he’s also a bit of a snap anticipator and he just guesses wrong at times. Ridgeway doesn’t feel the cut block well, either.
Texas was a chaotic program during his tenure, and that leaves some variables. Will he respond to different coaching and more stability in the NFL? Kocurek is a well-respected DL coach with an in-your-face style, and Haloti Ngata would make a nice veteran mentor for a year or two.
If the Lions are comfortable with those variable answers, don’t be surprised if Hassan Ridgeway is Detroit’s second-round choice. That’s where he grades for me, my 54th overall player.