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Alabama in the Pros

Calvin Ridley said there is “no pressure” for him in replacing Julio Jones as Falcons No. 1 receiver

Calvin Ridley with a reception in 2020 for Falcons versus Chargers
Gary A. Vasquez - USA TODAY Sports

Julio Jones is gone, but the Atlanta Falcons have another wide receiver from the University of Alabama.

Calvin Ridley excelled as the No. 1 option in Tuscaloosa for three years, and now he welcomes the challenge in the pros.

RELATED: Jerry Jeudy explains on ESPN’s First Take why Alabama is the premier school for receivers

After being taken in the first round (No. 26 overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft, Ridley totaled 800+ yards receiving in his first two seasons.

The South Florida native would explode last year with 90 catches for 1,374 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

Ridley had eight 100-yard games, averaged 15.3 yards per catch, and was targeted 143 times.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder made second-team All-Pro for his efforts and has been present at minicamp with the Falcons. He is coming off foot surgery, but he’s been able to participate in walkthroughs and team meetings.

Ridley is not able to go at full speed; however, he will be ready for training camp. According to different beat reporters for the Falcons, Ridley said he learned a lot of confidence from Julio Jones.

The competition between the two receivers made Ridley better.

He feels “no pressure” about taking over as the primary target for Matt Ryan.

RELATED: Mac Jones shines in the rain over Cam Newton at Patriots practice

We have seen Ridley’s growth from his rookie season to this point. His targets will increase in the fall, and the third-year player may also become a popular pick for fantasy football.

He was a national champion in college, but his focus is now getting the Falcons to a Vince Lombardi Trophy.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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