These 5 Atlanta Falcons players are in need of a great 2020 season

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1. Calvin Ridley

2020 will be a big year for Cavin Ridley and his future with the Atlanta Falcons. When you become a first-round draft pick, your expectations are that one day you will be the primary receiver on the team. However, when paired up with Julio, you will never be considered number one.

During Ridley’s first two seasons in the NFL, he has started the season as the third receiver on the team behind Mohamed Sanu. In 2018, Sanu and Ridley saw basically the same amount of targets (94 and 92 respectively).

Now that Ridley will go into training camp as the second receiver on the team, he is expected to have a career-best in 2020.  Ridley has never registered a 1,000-yard season and 2020 is a perfect time to do so.

In 2018, four players tallied over 88 targets from Matt Ryan. Two of those four are no longer on the team (Sanu, Hooper). With the offense more reliant than ever on the passing game, it is clear to see that those lost targets will have to make their way towards new tight end Hurst and now veteran Ridley, whom Ryan obviously trusts more with the ball as they already have chemistry together.

Ridley also has a better chance of getting his first thousand-yard season as Hurst has never seen more than 39 targets in a season, making that leap to 90+ targets that much more of a daunting task.

But, where this becomes crucial for the Atlanta Falcons is that there is no longer that threat of Sanu on the perimeter as Ridley’s old role has been filled in by two unknown players in Russell Gage and Laquon Treadwell. Gage is the likely player to be Ryan’s fourth option behind Hurst, or maybe his third ahead of Hurst due to familiarity, which is very important this offseason.

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With teams trying to scheme Julio out of the play as much as they can – usually to no avail – Ridley will need to break out and show he can carry this team when Julio sees double coverage. Ridley’s performance also affects the performance of the guys beneath him as Gage is looking to become a staple in this offense and Treadwell is looking to revamp his NFL career. If Ridley can’t perform, that makes their jobs that much harder and gives the Atlanta Falcons a reason to shop around.