WR Calvin Ridley named the Jacksonville Jaguars biggest X-Factor for the 2023 season

• The Jaguars have a bonafide WR1 in Calvin Ridley.

• Ridley is set to prove he's among the top wideouts in the league

• He was named the Jags' biggest factor for the 2023 season

Aug 12, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) makes a
Aug 12, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) makes a / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars were pretty good last year but they could be even better in 2023 due to the acquisition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Even though the Jags already had a pair of talented wideouts in Christian Kirk and Zay Jones, they felt Ridley could take their offense to the next level. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes his presence could have a huge impact on Jacksonville's fortunes this upcoming season.

Knox recently identified what he thinks is each NFL team's biggest X-Factor for the 2023 season. He argues that Ridley is the Jaguars', noting that the Alabama product can take Trevor Lawrence's game to the next level.

"If new Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley can replicate the early success he had with the Falcons, Lawrence will have the chance to keep getting better. Ridley amassed 3,061 yards and 26 touchdowns in his first three seasons with Atlanta.

Ridley stepped away from the Falcons in 2021 to focus on his "mental well-being" and was later suspended for betting on NFL games. The Jaguars acquired him in a 2022 trade, and Ridley was reinstated earlier this offseason."

Knox then says that Jacksonville should remain the favorite to win the AFC South title even if he isn't the same receiver he was early in his career. But if he is, will help the Jaguars and Lawrence to soar even higher than they did last year.

Ridley, a first-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons, quickly became a household name in the league. However, a broken foot limited him early in the 2021 season. The injury, in conjunction with his mental health, led him to step away from football. Not long after he retired, he was suspended for placing bets on NFL games.

Even though Ridley was serving his suspension in the middle of the 2022 season, the Jaguars acquired him from the Falcons in exchange for a series of draft picks. The Florida native was reinstated in March and joined the team not long after.

Ridley said during his first exchange with the media that he was driven to prove he was still the player he was back in Atlanta. Since then, he's been putting in the work to get back to the difference-maker he was before injuries and mental health took a toll on him.

Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley is poised to have a huge impact for the Jaguars in 2023

Calvin Ridley hasn't gotten many snaps in the 2023 preseason but that's by design. The Jags rested most of their starters against the Detroit Lions in Week 2 and Ridley doesn't really need much playing time before the opener. He made a strong impression in both offseason workouts and training camp, so there's no reason to give him snaps that could otherwise go to players that need them.

One of the biggest questions surrounding Ridley ahead of the regular season was whether he would be rusty. He's shown that isn't the case. Looking back, there were no reasons to think he wouldn't be out of shape. During his suspension and after the Jags had traded for him, he routinely posted workout videos where looked in optimal shape.

Without Ridley, the Jacksonville offense ranked 10th in both points scored and total yards last year. It's reasonable to think they can make the top 5 with Ridley in the mix. Besides drawing coverage away from Kirk and Jones, Travis Etienne, or whoever's in the backfield, will find lighter boxes, which will lead to bigger gains in the ground.

So far, the Jacksonville Jaguars seemed to be pleased with the investment they made in Ridley. And if he turns into the game-changer he was in Atlanta, they won't mind the paid somewhat of a hefty price for his services.

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