Rookie Rundown: WR Riley Ridley, Georgia

Rookie Rundown: WR Riley Ridley, Georgia

NFL Draft

Rookie Rundown: WR Riley Ridley, Georgia

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Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The younger brother of Calvin Ridley started for two seasons at Georgia. He offers a valuable possession receiver role for NFL teams. The ex-Bulldog led the team in catches (43), receiving yards (559) and touchdown catches (9) on a team that only passed 242 times last year versus 547 rushes. He played mostly from the slot and was central to the passing effort, as pedestrian as it was.

His contributions helped move the sticks for the run-heavy offense when needed. He likely gets at least a small bump in hype being the brother of Calvin who was a much faster and more productive wideout for Alabama. But to his credit, virtually all of Riley’s best performances came in losses by the Bulldogs when they were finally forced to throw.

One of his best efforts was in the 2017 College Football Championship game when he caught six passes for 82 yards while losing 26-23 to Alabama. His brother Calvin would only manage four receptions for 32 yards in that matchup.

Height: 6-1
Weight: 199 pounds
40 time: 4.58 seconds

Playing for a team that rushed twice as often as they passed obviously depressed what Ridley could produce, but he offered a reliable set of hands over the middle.

Year Games Catch Yards Avg. TD Runs Yards. TD Total Yards Total TDs
2016 6 12 238 19.8 2 3 41 0 279 2
2017 8 14 219 15.6 2 1 5 0 223 2
2018 14 43 559 13.0 9 0 0.0 0 559 9

Pros

  • Projects as a possession receiver that can work the entire field, including contested over-the-middle receptions.
  • Strong enough to prevent being jammed at the line.
  • Great hands with a wide catch radius. Ability to catch the ball away from body gives the quarterback a big target.
  • Tough receiver not afraid of contact.
  • Strong route runner
  • Above average blocking skills

Cons

  • His 30.5″ vertical at the combine was second lowest among all wideouts.
  • Adequate speed but not a deep threat.
  • Average quickness and takes time to reach top speed.
  • Doesn’t tack on much yardage after the catch. His 13.0 yards per catch was one of the lowest for the Bulldogs last year.
  • Hurt stock at the combine with lower measurables than most other receivers. Agility scores slow for a player of his size.
  • Could have benefitted from staying for his senior season.
  • Never gained more than 89 yards in any college game.

Fantasy outlook

He’s the same size as his brother Calvin but not nearly as fast or quick. He is considered to be polished as a receiver and able to run precise routes which counts very large in the NFL. He’s been projected as high as the second round although his combine performance did nothing to help that. He’s more likely to slide to the third round based on post-combine expectations.

Ridley projects as a possession receiver that can go over the middle and make the third-down catches. He’d be best paired with an elite wideout and could carve out a solid role as the No. 2 wideout on the right team.

He couldn’t outrun cornerbacks or safeties in college and that only gets worse in the NFL.  He could end up remaining as a slot player though that would mean even fewer snaps and a lesser chance that he offers any significant fantasy value.  A great route runner, over the middle, with a big catch radius and good hands, lands a definite role on any offense.

His draft selection and resulting NFL career are hard to see as much more than average.  Ridley isn’t nearly as good as his big brother and shouldn’t be overvalued on his last name alone. But he also played on a team that rarely threw the ball, so he shouldn’t be dinged for not catching more passes that were never thrown.

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