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Falcons WR Calvin Ridley snubbed once again

USA TODAY Sports Media Group
USA TODAY Sports Media Group
 2021-07-14
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For the first time in nearly 10 years, Julio Jones won’t be Matt Ryan’s primary target. The Falcons dealt away their iconic superstar over the offseason, cementing Calvin Ridley as the team’s new No. 1 option. So how does Ridley stack up against the top wide receivers in the league?

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler used more than 50 NFL executives, personnel and players to compile a ranking of the 10 best receivers. Ridley initially finished tied for tenth with Titans wideout A.J. Brown, but Brown got the nod over the former Alabama star. Fowler noted that NFL executives preferred Brown’s explosiveness over Ridley’s route running finesse.

Despite being left off, Ridley’s elite route-running skills were highlighted by an unnamed AFC offensive coach.

“His ability to drop his weight at full speed and turn his hips is elite.”

Of the 10 receivers ranked above Ridley, only Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins racked up more yards than the Falcons receiver. Ridley’s average yards per catch of 15.3 was also higher than eight of the players on the list. DK Metcalf (15.7) and Brown (15.4) were the only two with higher averages per reception.

However, Ridley’s catch percentage of 65.7 percent is lower than all but one of the receivers ranked by ESPN. Of the 137 passes thrown his way, the Falcons receiver only pulled in 90 of those, with a target share percentage of 21.8 percent.

Ridley will have an ample amount of opportunities in 2021 to prove he is one of the premier receivers in the NFL. The Falcons hired former Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith to lead and transform the offense. And while Tennessee is known its dominant run game, Smith has stated he will adjust to Atlanta’s personnel.

Former Falcons receiver Julio Jones comes in at No. 5 on this list after being ranked No. 1 just a year ago.

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