The Atlanta Falcons have done plenty of wheeling and dealing in free agency as they try to improve their team heading into the draft and next season. The Falcons aren’t done yet and they should be looking at Calvin Ridley as a movable piece.
When the Atlanta Falcons picked Ridley in the first round in 2018, it was a bit surprising but they needed a solid number two behind Julio Jones. Ridley has been solid in his first two seasons, with 17 touchdowns and more than 1,600 yards. But you can make the case that any receiver playing behind Julio should be successful.
The Falcons also went out and signed Laquon Treadwell, whose career has gotten off to a rough start but he has never played with a quarterback as good as Matt Ryan. And there’s one other thing, this year’s NFL draft class is deep at the receiver position.
Whether it’s Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma, or LSU’s Justin Jefferson, this class is seeping with talented wideouts. Ridley’s value may never be higher. He’s only 25 with two years left on his rookie deal. While he has had some moments on the field where he seems to lose focus, he hasn’t hurt the team too much.
Ridley’s on the small side though, so run blocking will always be an issue for him. And the Atlanta Falcons just have too many glaring needs on the other side of the ball. The Falcons could be looking to move into the top five to select a game-changer on defense. Chase Young, Isaiah Simmons, and Jeff Okudah all make the defense better. And lest we forget, the Falcons have to deal with Michael Thomas and Mike Evans four times.
We can expect Cincinnati to take a quarterback as Andy Dalton isn’t the long term solution there. But if the Redskins, Lions, and Giants are all confident in who’s under center, they could all use a wide receiver. The last thing the Falcons need to do is sacrifice more draft picks and handicap themselves in years to come over a win-this-season mandate from Arthur Blank.
Calvin Ridley though, won’t ever be a true number one and the Falcons should package him and a late pick to move up to take a game-changer on defense. And take advantage of the deep talent at the wide receiver position. If anything, we’ve seen a receiver can make a difference as a rookie. Hey, Ridley did it himself.