The Falcons didn’t have a season to write home about, but Calvin Ridley wasn’t the reason why.
In his third year in the NFL, Ridley blew by 1,000 yards and finished with one of the best seasons in team history by a player not named Julio Jones. He finished up with a career-high 90 receptions, a career-high 1,374 yards, and 9 touchdowns, establishing himself as one of the league’s best receivers in a year where Julio Jones missed several games. That fine work didn’t earn him a Pro Bowl nod, but it did earn him 2nd team honors for the 2020 All-Pro team.
Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill earned first team nods for incredible years, so it’s hard to be mad about Ridley being on the second team. He’s keeping company with DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Jefferson, DK Metcalf and for some reason Cole Beasley, and almost all of those players also had tremendous years.
It’s a deserved honor for Ridley, in other words, and likely the first of multiple such nods. Ridley has very few flaws in his game as a receiver, being a terrific route runner with plenty of speed and excellent hands, and with Julio aging his role in the offense is only going to continue to grow. Consider, too, that he put up this kind of production in a season where he missed a game and you can see how bright the future might be for him, even as the rest of the offense faces a bit of an uncertain future.
I do feel like the Falcons had a couple of omissions on the All-Pro team, of course. Grady Jarrett deserved to make at least the second team for his work this season, which was superlative despite the lack of eye-popping counting stats. The bigger omission and the more insulting one is Younghoe Koo not making it at all, especially since Justin Tucker coasted into the 2nd team due to his (entirely deserved) reputation, given that he had a worse hit rate on field goals than Koo despite 10 fewer attempts. Alas.
Congratulations to Ridley, though, and may he be a 1st team selection in 2021 after he builds on this great year.