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Falcons WR Calvin Ridley now tied for third in NFL for receiving touchdowns, one off franchise mark for rookies

What a year so far for the rookie.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Well, as bummed out as we all are about Thursday’s catastrophe, there are still silver linings to find with the Atlanta Falcons.

Rookie sensation Calvin Ridley has had a monstrous year, and now, he’s in elite company for touchdown receptions on the season.

Right now, he’s tied with top receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas with eight touchdowns on the year so far. Only Tyreek Hill (12) and Antonio Brown (11) are ahead.

He’s tied in a big group for twelfth overall for touchdowns in the league (counting running backs and tight ends),

Here was the eighth grab for Ridley on the season, in case you’d like to see it again.

As far as rookie receivers go, Chicago’s Anthony Miller is three behind with five on the year so far.

Believe it or not, he’s also the seventh-most prolific second receiving option in the NFL at the moment with 625 overall yards on the year. Only Travis Kelce, Robert Woods, Stefon Diggs, JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeSean Jackson and Tyler Boyd have more receiving yards as as second fiddles in their offenses.

Julio Jones still leads the league in receptions with 1,305, of course.

As far as rookies go there, he leads the NFL. RB Saquon Barkley is the closest in total receiving yards with 540. He’s one away from tying Junior Miller for receiving touchdowns as a rookie.

Needless to say, the Falcons found a young star in Ridley, who is outpacing all the expectations anyone had for him in this offense right now. He’s, clearly, the best rookie receiver to come out of the 2018 draft class by a wide margin, and now is one of the most productive receivers in the NFL in the red zone.

Once he works on really shoring up his hands (he’s got three this season, which really isn’t anything to get all that worked up about), he will emerge as one of the league’s best receivers. That’s phenomenally exciting to think about as long as he’s with Julio.

The team might just be back to the days of having two legit top options at receiver (we miss you, Roddy!), and that’s not even counting Mohamed Sanu, who is 34th overall right now in yards with 546. Only the Rams and Buccaneers have three guys in the top 35 in yards as well.

The overall team is in a tough spot right now, but the receiving group is on fire. Here’s to Ridley and his wonderful season thus far, with the hope that an offseason spent working on his hands will really turn him into a monster. He can only add to it now, with double-digit touchdowns well within reach for his first year as a Falcon. How exciting is that?