Calvin Ridley has enjoyed a meteoric ascension over the course of his first three professional seasons since being selected with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Now, the praise has justifiably followed his strong seasonal performances.
The NFL Network has launched its annual countdown of the top 100 players in the NFL, and Ridley’s strong 2020 season earned him a place on the list.
Ridley’s ascension hit a new level last season, when he secured a career high 1,374 receiving yards — good for fifth in the NFL — and was 10th in the league with nine receiving touchdowns. He also led the league in most completed receiving air yards, showcasing his proficiency as a deep threat.
Those marks helped the Alabama alum into being named a second-team All-Pro selection in just his third NFL season. Of course, because of how ridiculous the Pro Bowl selection process is, Ridley somehow wasn’t a Pro Bowler in 2020.
Most Completed Air Yards in 2020— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) February 24, 2021
1️⃣ Calvin Ridley: 1,095
2️⃣ Stefon Diggs: 1,072
3️⃣ Allen Robinson: 955
4️⃣ Justin Jefferson: 950 pic.twitter.com/6UYrCuLfxo
Ridley stepped up for the Falcons in a year when Julio Jones struggled through lingering injuries. This year, Atlanta will hope that his career ascension will continue as he permanently steps into the role of WR1 following Jones’ departure to Tennessee this offseason.
In the presentation of Ridley’s unveiling, he drew immense praise from some of the top receivers in the NFL — DK Metcalf and Chris Godwin — for his incredible route running in particular. Metcalf went as far as to say that Ridley is, in his opinion, the best route runner in the NFL.
Calvin Ridley ranked as the 11th-best wide receiver on the countdown. Unless Mike Evans or D.J. Moore is revealed in the top 40, he’ll also be the top ranked WR in the NFC South.