The Falcons entered their 2019 season with perhaps the best WR trio in the National Football League. Mohammed Sanu is no longer a Falcon but Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley still compromise a fear-inducing, two-headed monster atop the WR depth chart. With Justin Hardy no longer in the picture, the Falcons need a WR3 they can rely on in 2020. Whether Laquon Treadwell, Russell Gage, or someone else is that guy remains to be seen. But assuming for a moment it’s Treadwell’s job to lose, what can he realistically do to help the Falcons win football games in 2020?
There’s no getting around this: Treadwell has underwhelmed since the Vikings drafted him 23rd overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. That’s a fact. But the Falcons don’t need him to play like a former first rounder. We need to keep that in mind, and so does Treadwell. Assuming Jones and Ridley stay healthy, the Falcons really only need him to provide replacement-level production as a WR3.
Treadwell is never going to be the type of receiver that can blow past NFL defensive backs. He just isn’t. He ran a 40 north of 4.6 at his pro day after famously refusing to run one at the Combine and players don’t spontaneously develop home run speed. He’s got to stick to his bread and butter: defeating contact at the line of scrimmage, winning jump balls, and effective blocking. If he does those things, the Falcons will feel good about their low-risk, high-reward signing. If he doesn’t, then we probably won’t even remember that he played for the Falcons 5-6 years down the road.
So, in short, it’s important to temper our expectations and allow Treadwell to find his niche. Notwithstanding his NFL pedigree (former high school All-American, SEC freshman of the year, First-team All SEC, first round draft pick), he’s amassed all of 701 receiving yards over 4 years in the NFL. The Falcons know that. We know that. Treadwell knows that. We’re all just hoping a change of scenery helps him get closer to his ceiling. Best case scenario, he racks up a few hundred receiving yards as a reliable possession receiver, catches 2-3 touchdown passes, and is a willing, effective blocker.
What say you, Falcoholics? What role would you like to see Treadwell play in 2020?