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Calvin Ridley was a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but was held without a reception in Atlanta’s week 1 loss to Philadelphia. Despite some successful route running and a few missed routes by quarterback Matt Ryan, Ridley didn’t meet expectations in his debut.

Week 2 proved differently, as Ridley led Atlanta in receiving yards and added in his first career touchdown in the Falcon’s victory over Carolina.

In order to gather more information on his performance, I watched the coaches film and charted his routes. Ridley ran 21 routes on Sunday, accumulating 6 total targets. One of those targets was a defensive pass interference penalty committed by Donte Jackson.

Findings

  • Of the 21 routes Ridley ran, 11 of them came when he was aligned as the #1 receiver. Though some draft analysts believed Ridley’s size and “lack” of athleticism projected more for slot receiver duties, Atlanta did a good job of mixing his alignments.
  • 9 of the 21 routes came when Ridley was aligned as the #2 receiver
  • 1 of the 21 routes came when Ridley was aligned as the #3 receiver
  • I deem “successful” passing routes for wide receivers as those routes that generate enough separation to create a clean and open throwing window for the Quarterback, by the time of his release. I had Ridley down for 12 successful routes.
  • Ridley’s success rate on routes while aligned outside was 8/11
  • Ridley’s success rate on routes while aligned in the Slot was 4/10

While the sample size is limited, Ridley was more effective as a route runner from the outside receiver position. Additionally, all of his receptions came on plays where he was aligned outside.

Coverages

  • Ridley’s success rate on routes while operating against man coverage was 5/7
  • Ridley’s success rate on routes while operating against zone coverage was 7/14

Ridley’s smooth cuts and deceptions in his stems always better projected him to be more effective while operating against man coverage. This held true last Sunday.

Totals/Averages:

  • Ridley accumulated 4 receptions for 64 receiving yards, on 5 official targets (not including the defensive pass interference penalty)
  • Of the 64 yards, 37 of them came after the catch. This means that 27 of them were “air yards,” or yards already gained at the time of the catch.
  • Ridley’s average depth of target was 7.66 yards down the field (including the defensive pass interference target)
  • Ridley’s yards per target (not including the defensive pass interference target) was 12.8 yards
  • Ridley’s yard per target (including the defensive pass interference target) was 13.0
  • Ridley’s lone contested catch situation ended up with the defensive pass interference penalty
  • Ridley had 1 drop
  • Ridley’s most ran passing route was the “Short In,” which he ran 5 times with a success rate of 3/5

Ridley’s week to week improvement in production is encouraging for his season long prospects. As a first round pick for a contending team, his immediate contribution will be necessary for the Falcons to take the next step.