The 2018 season was a disappointing one for the Atlanta Falcons, but they still had a few bright spots still. One of those was the play from Calvin Ridley in his rookie season.
The Falcons selected Ridley with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Ridley came out of Alabama just like Julio Jones who has turned out to be an alright wide receiver.
In his rookie season, Ridley finished the year with 64 receptions, 821 yards, and 10 touchdowns. The 64 receptions were second among rookies while the 821 yards led all rookies.
Although, his 10 touchdowns on the season was eighth in the whole NFL. Playing alongside Julio gives him plenty of opportunities to score.
Ridley may have had an impressive rookie season in 2018 but there are things he can improve upon in 2019. Here are three improvements that the Falcons’ young receiver can make to be even better in 2019.
3. Improve Catch Percentage
Ridley was spectacular in his rookie season in 2018 despite the Falcons missing the playoffs. In 2018, Ridley caught 64 passes on 92 targets during the regular season.
That is good enough for a 69.5 catch percentage. Ridley ranked 34th among pass catchers in the NFL in catch percentage.
There are multiple things that can attribute to a low or high catch percentage. First, the quarterback may be throwing uncatchable passes which are going to inevitably happen.
Second, the wide receiver can drop passes or run a wrong route or what not. Both contributed to Ridley having a 69.5 catch percentage in 2018.
Ridley can take another step forward in 2019 if he is able to maximize his opportunities to catch the ball by minimizing drops and staying on the same page as Matt Ryan.
2. Continue to Get Separation
One thing that Ridley doesn’t need to really improve on is separation but there is always room for improvement. Coming into the NFL, one of Ridley’s strong suits was his route running.
That remained true for the young wideout in 2018 with the Falcons as he had an average of 3.2 yards in separation between him and his defender. This ranked ahead of Tyreek Hill and shows that Ridley’s speed and route running was a deadly combo in his rookie year.
Getting separation is vital for an offense to be capable of making plays on offense. As a result, it makes the quarterback’s job much easier when he doesn’t have to force a ball to his receiver with a defender all over him.
1. Decrease the Drops
If there was one thing that you could say was disappointing in Ridley’s rookie campaign in 2018 it has to be the drops. Unfortunately, Ridley had 10 of them throughout the season.
The 10 drops were ranked second worst in the NFL behind Jarvis Landry surprisingly. That number has to come down in 2019 if Ridley hopes to improve as a receiver in the NFL.
The intangibles are there and so is the talent but catching the ball is the most important part of playing wide receiver. I know, that may come as a surprise to some.
If Ridley wants to remain on Matt Ryan’s good list then he will want to eliminate the drops in his game. Nonetheless, the future is bright for Ridley with the Falcons if he can continue to add improvements to his already talented skill set.