Football, NFL

The Case for Calvin Ridley

The Case for Calvin Ridley
“I always wanted Julio and Calvin to play for the Falcons, but since Calvin Johnson isn’t an option, I’ll settle for the next best thing.”
Now that the 1st round is over and we’re moving on to Day 2 of the draft, some people don’t know how to feel about the Falcons’ pick in Calvin Ridley.  I have 2 words for everyone who isn’t sure how to feel, “Be Excited!”
Calvin Ridley was the #1 WR in this draft.  He’s 6’1”, runs a 4.43 40 yd dash, can jump 31” high, and has good lateral quickness.  He had 2,781 career receiving yards to go along with 19 receiving TDs in his Alabama career.  All for a team that loves to pound the football with 3 or more running backs a game.
Another positive, and underrated skill, is run blocking.  I’m not sure how great of a run blocker he is, but just like Georgia Tech WRs, Alabama asks their guys to block downfield and provide support in the run game.  So whether he lines up in the slot or on the outside, he’ll provide the Falcons with run support, unlike the smaller options we’ve had at WR in Marvin Hall (5’11”, 190) or Justin Hardy (5’11”, 192).
We lost Taylor Gabriel (5’8”, 167) in free agency and needed to replace his production.  The 2016 season was his breakout season, posting his 2nd highest mark in receiving yards (579) and a career high 7 total touchdowns.  Last year he regressed in production without Kyle Shanahan with 378 yards and 1 TD.  Not only do we get a bigger body to put on the field with Mohamed Sanu (6’2”, 215) and Julio Jones (6’4”, 220), but we get a more talented WR than the other guys on the roster not named Julio or Sanu.
Relax about the Defensive Line.  DT isn’t really where you want to spend the bulk of your draft $$$ anyways.  Taven Bryan might’ve been a solid pick for us.  He most definitely fits a need.  I would be shocked if we didn’t come out of Day 2 with at least 1 defensive line pick.  Guys like Maurice Hurst, B.J. Hill, Harrison Phillips, and P.J. Hall are all guys I like and we’ll probably grab one of them.
At the end of the day I go back to what Dan Quinn said in his press conference.  He stressed the importance of not drafting someone who everyone is not sold on but could be a potential fit, and instead picking based on building “the best draft class”.  We could’ve gotten the 3rd or 4th best DT in the draft but having the #1 Wide Receiver as our 1st pick in, what we hope to be another strong draft class, is a great place to start.  On to Day 2.
Oh yeah and don’t worry about Julio, he’s under contract until 2020 and the Falcons would be foolish to believe Calvin Ridley can replace Julio Jones.

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