The drafting of Calvin Ridley in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft came to a surprise for many. However, after two seasons clothed in the Red & Black, Ridley has been exactly what the Falcons were searching for: A productive playmaker that adds a true dynamic threat alongside Julio Jones and Matt Ryan.
Ridley is under the microscope today in our “over/under” series for my attempt to figure out at how many touchdowns Ridley may score in the 2020 season.
So far, Ridley has crossed the end zone on 17 different occasions in just two years. It is also pretty documented that Ridley has led the Falcons in touchdown receptions in each of the his two seasons. This is impressive given that he plays alongside the best receiver in the NFL.
Let’s set Ridley’s baseline at 8.5.
The case for the over
A full season in 2018 saw Ridley hit double-digits in touchdowns. He impressively hit a three-game stretch early in the season with six touchdowns, including three against the arch rival New Orleans Saints. Upon doing the research for this column, I stumbled across a nice statistical nugget. Ridley received 10 red zone targets in 2019, with five of them being completed and four of the completions going for touchdowns.
Also keep in mind that Ridley totaled 13 games of play this past season with that type of success inside the 20-yard line. The Falcons were first in the NFL in passing attempts and third in passing yards. A healthy, complete 2020 season gives Ridley plenty of opportunity to eclipse eight touchdowns.
The case for the under
Even with a dynamic duo in tow at receiver, the Falcons decided to spruce up the offense this offseason. With the free agency signing of running back Todd Gurley and the trade for tight end Hayden Hurst, the Falcons did just that. The additions of both will surely result in production around the offense being distributed to a few extra weapons in huddle. Along with the attempt to establish the run game a little more beyond Gurley, a clear desire from Dan Quinn. All of that could possibly result in fewer touchdowns than normal for Ridley.
What’s your take?
Expectations have risen for Ridley as he enters his third season with the Falcons. Many analysts are looking for Ridley to produce his first 1,000-yard season.
Will Ridley stand on the doorstep of double-digit touchdowns again? Or will his numbers see a slight alteration as the Falcons incorporate more talent into the offense?