Riley Ridley was supposed to be picked in the second or third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. But he was still on the board in the fourth round for the Chicago Bears to select the former Georgia receiver with the 126th overall draft pick.
Ridley isn't the only talented receiver on Chicago's roster. He will compete alongside current Bears receivers Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Cordarrelle Patterson and Marvin Hall for reps. It will be tough to make his way on the field with that many competitors, but Ridley’s route running might allow him to be the team’s No. 3 receiver.
ESPN draft expert Todd McShay said before the draft he thinks Ridley’s route running will help him succeed in the NFL.
“The longer I’ve been in this business, the more I appreciate that in terms of translating to the next level. Guys that know how to separate with their hands and use their bodies and box out guys and be physical. And that’s what he is,” McShay said on April 22.
The 6-foot-1, 199 pound receiver can give Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky more breathing room on his throws to Ridley, whether it be on a slant route, a curl route or anything else.
Ridley, the younger brother of current Falcons receiver and former Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley, completed his career at Georgia with 70 catches for 1,026 yards and 13 touchdowns. He caught nine touchdowns in 2018, which led the Bulldogs for most receiving touchdowns. Ridley declared for the draft after his junior season.
Ridley won’t be the only former Georgia player on the Bears. Roquan Smith, Javon Wims and Leonard Floyd also play for Chicago.