One thing that it certainly means, is Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley will see an increased workload in 2021. The former University of Alabama receiver took over as the top target in Atlanta last year when Jones missed seven games due to injury.
He’s proven he can excel without Julio in the lineup, as he averaged 109.3 receiving yards in those games.
Ridley finished the season with career highs in targets (143), receptions (90) and receiving yards (1,374). ProFootballFocus predicts that Ridley will take another leap forward in 2021. In fact, they project him to be the NFL’s leading receiver.
While the departure of Julio will certainly bring added pressure to Ridley as defenses begin to key in on him, the Falcons’ No. 4 overall draft pick, Kyle Pitts, should certainly help in that department. The standout tight end from the University of Florida is a dynamic weapon that Atlanta will be able to use in several different positions.
The Falcons averaged 272.7 passing yards per game in 2021, good for fifth in the NFL. Their offense will need to be better in the red zone if they hope to find success this season, as they ranked 26th in red zone offense, finding the endzone on just 53.45% of trips. If they can sure up that area of their game, expect Ridley to surpass his 2020 touchdown mark of seven.
Ridley is now the man in Atlanta, and an increased leadership role is expected to come with that.
WynnBET has Ridley’s NFL MVP odds set at +25000 (250/1), but given that no receiver has ever won the award, Matt Ryan at +5000 odds is the better bet to make if you think Ridley will be the top receiver in 2021. He’s won it before, why not win it again?