Alabama Football: Calvin Ridley ready to be WR1 in ATL

Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football will have plenty of WR1s in the NFL

Last year, Calvin Ridley emerged as one of the best young receivers in the NFL. He proved himself during his time with Alabama football, and he is now one of the best players for the Atlanta Falcons. However, he’s going to need to step it up this season.

The Falcons traded another Alabama football receiver out of town when Julio Jones got shipped off to the Titans. This was not because they didn’t want his talents. It was strictly a salary restraint, and there is a massive gap in production for the Falcons this year.

That’s where Ridley comes into play. Ridley played well alongside Jones last year and in his absence. When Jones was hurt, Ridley became the top target in the Falcons offense. That worked for most of the season, but it will take more than that to prove that he can dominate without Julio over the course of an entire season.

When both Jones and Ridley were on the field, Ridley was able to work against the lesser defenders. He was an afterthought in the offense, and that made it easier for him to make opposing teams pay. It’s similar to how John Metchie received easier assignments across from Alabama football’s DeVonta Smith. This year, both Ridley and Metchie will have to be the top targets and the primary focus on the defensive scouting reports.

So, why is Ridley ready for this challenge? For starters, he has experience being a top target. When he played for Alabama football, he received the lion’s share of targets his senior year. Everyone knew that he was going to get the ball, and they still couldn’t stop him.

Also, Ridley saw what it took to win in the NFL when Julio went down. Teams will have a better idea on how to stop him, but that won’t matter much. Ridley’s skills are physical in nature. He isn’t being schemed open. It doesn’t matter if he’s going up against a good corner or a great one. He’ll use his speed and crisp routes to get open, and his strong hands will help him make the catch.

Next. Players who must step up. dark

It will be a challenge, but watch out for Calvin Ridley to be one of the most reliable top receivers in the NFC this season.