FLOWERY BRANCH – Today's Early Bird Report includes a look at how Calvin Ridley is faring in early jersey sales among rookies as well as PFF's ranking of NFL receiving corps heading into the season.
Although the Falcons already have one of the most exciting wide receivers in the NFL, there appears to be plenty of people lining up to buy a No. 18 jersey ahead of the 2018 season.
According to the Dick’s Sporting Goods jersey report, which ranks the best-selling jerseys in the league, Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley has the fifth-best selling jersey among all rookies this season. He also has the top-selling jersey among rookie wide receivers.
Ahead of Ridley on the rankings are, in order: New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Denver Broncos defensive lineman Bradley Chubb.
Ridley has the third-best selling jersey among Falcons players, behind Julio Jones and Matt Ryan, and he is 52nd among all NFL players at this point in the offseason.
Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:
Pro Football Focus: NFL's top receiving corps entering 2018
The Falcons have one of the league's top group of receivers, and they bolstered it with the selection of Calvin Ridley in the first round of this year's draft. With the combination of Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Ridley as well as solid depth provided by players like Justin Hardy and Marvin Hall, the Falcons' opponents may have a tough time stopping them through the air.
Pro Football Focus recently ranked all 32 receiving corps entering the 2018 season, and it's no surprise to see the Falcons near the top. Atlanta is No. 4 on PFF's list, and an argument could be made that even that is too low.
To see the rest of their list and what PFF had to say about the Falcons, click here.
AJC: Hooper has a tell – and it may be a good thing for Falcons
According to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Falcons tight end Austin Hooper has a tell. Also according to Vivlamore, Hooper's tell might actually benefit the Falcons and not their opponents.
Hooper and quarterback Austin Hooper have spent time together over the last two offseasons, and that tell is actually a tiny signal of communication between the two to keep them on the same page.
"It goes back to how the quarterback wants things," Hooper told Vivlamore. "If he wants it ran at a certain angle, at a certain depth, when you get to the top of a route you do a certain body mechanic and that is your tell that you are moving a certain way so Matt can throw with anticipation. For example, if it's something over the middle, Matt sees me start to lower my body, he knows I'm starting to break so he can throw the ball so by the time I turn around we beat the defender with the ball. It's those little timing things that you have to rep hundreds of times before you get that feel. Every route runner Matt has on the team moves different."
NFL.com: What we learned from the HOF Game
The NFL preseason kicked off last night as the Baltimore Ravens beat the Chicago Bears 17-16 in the annual Hall of Fame Game. NFL.com's Austin Knoblauch had several takeaways from last night's game, including his thoughts on rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Per Knoblauch, Jackson turned in a "very trademark rookie performance." He was 4 of 10 passing the football for 33 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Jackson also carried the ball eight time for 25 yards.
"He's a rookie quarterback out there for the first time handling the whole offense," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said after the game, according to Knoblauch. "I thought he did a very good job, and that's what I asked him to do today. ... I thought he handled himself well."
To see what else Knoblauch had to say about the game, click here.