The Atlanta Falcons surprised a lot of us when they selected Calvin Ridley in the first round, but a month in his career, it already looks like a stroke of genius.
Ridley was awarded Offensive Rookie of the Month honors for September after reeling in 15 receptions for 264 yards and a rookie record six touchdowns in his first four games. At times, he’s looked absolutely unstoppable, turning on the jets to blow by hapless cornerbacks or leaving them in the dust with effective route running and difficult-to-defend moves. In short, he’s excellent.
Can Ridley keep it up and win Rookie of the Year? There are a lot of obstacles in his way, including a stellar rookie class at quarterback and Giants phenom Saquon Barkley, but if he stays anywhere close to his current pace he should still get it running away. Ridley’s been a scoring machine and has the ability to punish teams for putting too many resources toward stopping Julio Jones, and as long as defenses continue to fear and respect Jones as much as they should, Ridley should continue to impact games at a high level.
I don’t know how the Falcons keep cleaning up at receiver in the first round—the last three they drafted have now been Roddy White, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley—but I do know I love it. Congratulations to Ridley, and hopefully the best is yet to come.