We remember that Calvin Ridley had some very uneven stretches in his rookie season, but the more time passes, the more those wrinkles will get smoothed out and there’ll be more of a golden glow around an extremely promising first year. Ridley looked like the best receiver in his draft class and set a Falcons rookie record for touchdown receptions, so it’s not like there was that much to quibble with.
As Aaron Freeman from FalcFans noted, what Ridley did in his rookie season put him in some truly elite company. He didn’t quite match Julio Jones’ receptions and yardage way back in 2011, but Ridley scored 10 touchdowns and managed 821 yards, two of the better marks in team history.
That also put him in with six other brilliant rookie receivers, including a Hall of Famer who might be the greatest receiver ever and two current Pro Bowlers who rip up the league every year, plus two very good receivers from the 1990s and the not-so-immortal Mike Williams from Tampa Bay. In other words, he’s in with some pretty elite company and one outlier.
#Falcons phenom Calvin Ridley is one of 7 rookie WRs since 1970 to have at least 750 receiving yards and 10 TDs in their debut seasons. All but one of the others went on to go to multiple Pro Bowls in their NFL careers. That exception was ex-#Bucs WR Mike Williams pic.twitter.com/1SdOD0QPq2— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) March 17, 2019
Ridley is locked in to this lineup on a team that should still be throwing the ball plenty, and he’s one of two (three if you’re infatuated with Russell Gage) receivers who is a lock to be here over the coming years. That, plus his elite route running and red zone performance in 2018, bodes extremely well for his future. The company he’s keeping on that list suggests just how bright that future could be, and Ridley’s a handful of more consistent performances and a drop or two less away from putting up some extremely shiny numbers in Atlanta’s offense.
I don’t think any of us would mind if he ended up having a career that looked like Randy Moss’s, either.