The Chicago Bears grabbed Javon Wims and Roquan Smith in 2018, and have now returned to Athens this year, selecting Bulldog receiver Riley Ridley in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
While he might not have the tantalizing upside of Chiefs second round selection Mecole Hardman, Ridley is a solid bet to improve the Bears receiving corps. The 6’1, 200 pound Florida native led the Red and Black in receiving in 2018 with 44 catches for 532 yards and 9 touchdowns. He also displayed a knack for the big play during his time in the Classic City, snagging an electrifying, nearly game-winning touchdown against Tennessee as a freshman, and leading all receivers in the 2018 national title game against Alabama.
Ridley has very good though not excellent speed. I’d say he’s fast enough to be a problem for NFL corners forced to cover him on an island. Where Ridley truly shines is in his ability to make contested catches, the kind that are more common in the NFL. He’s solidly built and isn’t afraid to bump and bang with defenders to get a little space to make a play. Riley also has excellent body control in the air and strong hands. While he isn’t flashy, Riley Ridley is a guy who makes tough catches and doesn’t drop a lot of balls.
Ridley’s also one of the best blocking receivers to play in Athens in recent memory, a fact that partially explains his 19 starts over the past two seasons in a crowded receiver rotation. Ridley’s just as good an all around receiver as you’ll find, and is likely to be a day one contributor in the Windy City.