Calvin Ridley
Hannah Foslien:Getty Images

Calvin Ridley Is The Most Underrated Wide Receiver In The NFL.

Calvin Ridley was drafted 26th overall in 2018 to the Atlanta Falcons When the pick was made, many people like me questioned the pick as they had one of the best receivers in the league in Julio Jones. Three years later Ridley has shut me up and has been an incredibly productive WR2 for the Falcons. He is very explosive off the line of scrimmage and is a polished route runner. As I am writing this on Sunday, June 6th, the Falcons have agreed to trade Julio Jones to the Titans. With Jones gone, Ridley’s numbers should only increase. Ridley is also going to benefit from rookie tight end, Kyle Pitts. Pitts is said to be a generational talent at tight end and similar to Julio, Pitts is going to get a lot of the defense’s attention. I expect more eyes to be on Pitts giving Ridley advantageous one-on-one matchups.

In Ridley’s rookie season he had 64 receptions, 821 yards, and ten touchdowns. In that same season, Julio Jones had one of his best statistical years where he went for 133 receptions and 1677 yards, which both ranked top five in the league. Ridley benefitted from lining up next to Jones but was still able to be productive despite Jones getting a majority of the targets. Ridley put up similar numbers in 2019 while only playing in 13 games.

The biggest question I had for Ridley was if he can consistently produce when Julio Jones is not on the field. Jones draws so much attention from the defense but when he is not on the field and all the attention is on Ridley, how will far against a team’s top corner. Additionally, this Falcons team has not had a reliable running game since the Michael Turner days, so when Jones is out Ridley is really the only threat you have to worry about. Ridley exploded in 2020 with 90 receptions, 1374 yards, and nine touchdowns, despite missing one game he ranked top-15 in all three categories. Ridley had eight 100-yard receiving games in 2020, five of those games coming when Julio Jones was injured. Even when Ridley was the number one option and the defense’s top priority, he still put up monster numbers.

Since he was drafted in 2018, Ridley has the most receptions and receiving touchdowns in his draft class and is second in yards only behind DJ Moore. This is wild considering Ridley has been the second option behind Jones and Moore has been the Panthers’ WR1 since they drafted him. Like I said earlier, Kyle Pitts is one of the greatest tight-end prospects we have ever seen. Pitts is going to be a matchup nightmare as he is too big for corners and too fast for linebackers. Ridley will draw the top corner but will most likely be in one-on-one coverage because of the attention on Pitts. With an elite separation and route running skill set, I expect Ridley to take another step in 2021.

While I was looking at Ridley’s stats, I was just amazed at how many good receivers are in this league. More specifically how many young star receivers there are in the NFL. While I think Calvin Ridley is most underrated, these guys also deserve some attention:

Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers

Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks

AJ Brown, Tennessee Titans

Monkey Knife Fight Logo for Article Ads

Vendetta Sports Media is sponsored by Monkey Knife Fight, the fastest growing DFS site in the industry. MKF’s unique style and gameplay make betting fun and easy. Use our promo code ‘VENDETTA’ or use the link below to get a 100% instant match on any deposit and let them know that we sent you! Signup now!