How will Calvin Ridley trade play out for Jaguars, Falcons?

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The most interesting, and the most mysterious, trade at the deadline was one that came out of left field—Atlanta dealing wide receiver Calvin Ridley to Jacksonville. For a player who was a top-15 wide receiver in football in 2020 to be traded in 2022 for only one certain low-round pick is bizarre. Ridley is currently on a one-year suspension for gambling on NFL games and can apply for reinstatement after the postseason.

This is what we know:

Jacksonville GM Trent Baalke is a risk-taker anyway, and it’s understandable why he had been trying to acquire Ridley since last June. Even though Jacksonville takes on Ridley’s full $11.1-million compensation in 2023, Baalke didn’t saddle the team with a prohibitive draft giveaway. Ian Rapoport had some good details on the compensation, and per Rapoport plus a league source, here are most of the terms of the deal:

2023: Jacksonville will send its sixth-round pick to Atlanta if Ridley is not reinstated by the NFL at some point before the draft. If he is reinstated—which is no sure thing—Atlanta will receive Jacksonville’s fifth-round pick in the ’23 draft.

2024: If Ridley is on the Jaguars’ 53-man roster when final cuts are made at the end of the 2023 preseason, Atlanta would receive at least Jacksonville’s fourth-round pick in ’24. If he reaches certain play-time and performance markers, that pick would increase to a third-rounder. And if Ridley signs a new contract with the Jaguars at some unspecified time before the ’24 draft, the pick would rise to a second-rounder in ’24.

So the risk for the Jags is if Ridley is a total washout and doesn’t play there, they’re on the hook for relatively little compared to the upside. Ridley is a player the Jaguars need for Trevor Lawrence—a very good outside-the-numbers receiver who, though he’ll turn 29 in 2023, would be a strong addition to a building team. That is, if he’s in a good frame of mind, and if the NFL reinstates him.

As to why Atlanta would let loose a receiver in his prime who caught 90 balls for 1,374 yards in 2020, it’s unclear. Part of the reason could well be that Ridley—drafted by Thomas Dimitroff in the first round in 2018, coached by Dan Quinn and Raheem Morris, with Matt Ryan as his quarterback—has zero of those who drafted, coached, nurtured, and threw to him remaining in Atlanta. If he came back to the team in 2023 post-suspension, he’d be coming back to a new quarterback (either Marcus Mariota or Desmond Ridder), playing alongside a new franchise receiver (Drake London). He’d played only five largely unimpressive games for new coach Arthur Smith in 2021 before his mental health pause. Had he returned to the Falcons in 2023, life, and football, would never have been the same, and the Falcons likely weren’t pleased about the prospect of committing significant money to Ridley.

Also, Ridley did not appeal his year’s suspension by the NFL for betting on football, handed down last March. That seems odd. According to SportsHandle.com, Ridley, after saying on Oct. 31, 2021 that he was stepping away from football to focus on his mental health, made six bets totaling $3,900 that included the Falcons to win, and two $100 bets on other NFL games. That’s a breach of a clear NFL policy that says players can’t gamble on NFL games.

But at the time, the NFL was called hypocritical because it was in bed with gambling companies, and respected former players like Emmanuel Acho and Torrey Smith were highly critical of the ban. Very often, players appeal suspensions, particularly lengthy ones, and get some relief. It figures that Ridley would have at least had a chance to cut some weeks off the suspension. But he didn’t try. What does that mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe not.

In the end, Jacksonville took a shot on a player at the top of his game just two years ago, and if he plays well, the cost will be well worth it. Atlanta traded a player it apparently had lost faith in, saved $11 million, and could recoup second- and fifth-round picks if Ridley rekindles his career. Seems like a strange, but good, trade for both teams. We’re not going to know the real result for well over a year.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft CB Rankings: Devon Witherspoon highlights loaded draft class

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The 2023 NFL Draft is growing nearer, with just weeks remaining until teams make selections that could alter the future of their franchise forever.

A solid secondary is crucial to any team’s defensive prowess, and for the teams looking to tighten up in coverage, this year’s draft is the one to do so.

The 2023 NFL Draft cornerback class is an incredibly deep one, but which corner will be first off the board? Chris Simms unveiled his 2023 NFL Draft Cornerback rankings this week on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, posting Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon at the top of his list of corners in this year’s crop.

But trailing Witherspoon very closely are four other potential NFL superstars, with Simms ranking Michigan’s DJ Turner at No. 2, Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez at No. 3, Maryland’s Deonte Banks at No. 4 and Georgia’s Kelee Ringo at No. 5.

The 2023 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 27, and end on Saturday, April 29. The first round will take place on Thursday with rounds two and three airing on Friday and rounds four through seven on Saturday. Click here for Simms’ quarterback rankings,and here for his list of top wide receivers.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Simms’ Top Five CB prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft

Tier One

1. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

2. DJ Turner, Michigan

3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Tier Two

4. Deonte Banks, Maryland

Tier Three

5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia

RELATED: 2023 NFL Draft order: Complete list of every pick from Round 1 through Round 7

Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft CB Rankings

The following are highlights from Simms’ CB draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

No. 1: Devon Witherspoon, Illinois

What Simms said: “This guy is must-see TV. He’s up there with one of the most twitchy, sudden people I’ve ever seen in my life to the point where when he takes off, you’re like, ‘Wait, is that real? Did he really get to full speed in half a step?’ … Bump or off, both are phenomenol —  it’s rare to have that. He’s got very good play strength for a guy that’s 5’11” and a half at 181 lbs. He doesn’t know that, he thinks he’s 220 … It’s efficient and easy. He’s sudden and can see the ability to accelerate whether it’s downhill or sticking the foot in the ground and changing direction. As compared to my No. 2 and No. 3 guy, he might be a hair tighter in his hips, but his twitchiness and explosion and acceleration … you just start to go, ‘What does this guy not have, besides the fact that he’s not 6’2” or over 200 lbs.’ He’s phenomenol.”

No. 2: DJ Turner, Michigan

What Simms said: “To me, (DJ Turner is) the most technically sound corner in the draft. There’s nobody better at technique. Like Witherspoon, the ability to mirror receivers at the line of scrimmage, the quick feet, it’s phenomenol. His hips are better than Witherspoon … His ability to flip those hips, turn and break on the ball, it’s right up there. It’s actually more smooth hip-wise than it is for Devon Witherspoon … What more can you say about the guy? Start-stop ability, amazing. Make-up speed, amazing. Other than Witherspoon, I think he’s put in the second-most tough spots out of anybody I’ve watched in this. He plays man-to-man, in your face a ton against big-time receivers. He’s awesome defending double moves. He could be the best nickel or outside guy, and he’s also the fastest guy in the draft. He’s got it all.”

No. 3: Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

What Simms said: “There’s not much to pick apart here … He’s got a little more size and meat on his bones. The Tee Higgins of the world, the bigger receivers of the world, they’re gonna have a harder time pushing him around and doing that stuff. He’s got incredible ball skills … He looks prototype. He looks Darrelle Revis, Champ Bailey-ish in his uniform …  He just wasn’t as edgy as the other guys … He’s gonna match up better with DeAndre Hopkins than the other two. But I don’t know if he’ll match up better with Jaylen Waddle or Ja’Marr Chase than the other two … But his technique is real. He’s a top-20 pick. You talk size, technique and straight speed, of course this guy is one of the top corners in the draft.” 

No. 4: Deonte Banks, Maryland

What Simms said: “He has more measurables like Gonzalez. 6 foot, 197 lbs., there’s a thickness to him and a power and strength element that certainly jumps out. Let alone, speed is Real Deal Holyfield … man-to-man, great legs, runs easy … He’s comfortable in his speed. He’s never panicked. He’s comfortable in going, ‘You have a step on me? That’s fine, I’m good,’ … But he’s also incredible, like Witherspoon and Turner, at getting on top of people when they try to run a go-route. No one can ever really get around him for the most part … He’s sticky as hell, he’s got very good feet, but he doesn’t know how to use his hands at all yet. So he’s not really that great at jamming people at the line of scrimmage, but he’s never not there … I thought his ability to play the ball and create PBUs in those 50/50 situations where the quarterback tries to throw the ball back shoulder and all that, he’s got a great feel and vision to be able to cover and see the throw at the same time that I was very impressed with.”

No. 5: Kelee Ringo, Georgia

What Simms said: “When you turn on the film, you go, ‘What? This guy’s a corner, he’s not a safety?’ Because he has a prototype safety vibe … Against the bigger, straight-liner guys, nobody’s gonna push this dude around. That’s certainly not going to be an issue, that along with the straight speed. Hey, the change of direction stuff is not beautiful. He’s a little heavy-footed because he’s a bigger guy … but it’s not bad … When he opens up, he can really go; obviously with a 4.36 second 40 time … He’s very smooth as far as an athlete overall.” 

For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms UnbuttonedProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The top QBs, WRs, RBs, and more ahead of draft weekend

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The 2023 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for the full first-round draft order to find out when your team is picking.

Ahead of this year’s draft, Chris Simms has already started analyzing the top prospects by position on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast. So far, Simms has revealed his highly anticipated list of the top 5 quarterback prospects and wide receivers. See below to find out who made the top 5 names for each position and be sure to check back for updates!

Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL Draft as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings:

  1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA and Will Levis, Kentucky

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings:

  1. Zay Flowers, Boston College
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njibga, Ohio State
  3. Quentin Jonston, TCU
  4. Michael Wilson, Stanford
  5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Chris Simms 2023 NFL Draft Cornerback Rankings

  1. Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
  2. DJ Turner, Michigan
  3. Christian Gonzalez, Oregon
  4. Deonte Banks, Maryland
  5. Kelee Ringo, Georgia

How can I watch the 2023 NFL Draft live?

ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

What time does the NFL Draft start?

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds two and three will commence Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Saturday’s final rounds at 12 p.m.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Season and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!