ATHENS — Riley Ridley was selected by the Chicago Bears with the 126th overall pick in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday in Nashville.
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) April 27, 2019
It was only a matter of when and with who the Georgia football go-to receiver would catch-on after a strong junior season for the Bulldogs.
The 6-foot-1, 199-pound Ridley led Georgia with 44 catches for 579 yards and nine touchdowns in 2018, closing his career with a team-high 61 yards on five catches in the Sugar Bowl.
The younger brother of Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley — who a first-round pick — Riley is known for his strong hands and ability to match catches in traffic.
No wide receiver in the SEC was better at bringing down contested catches than Georgia’s Riley Ridley. pic.twitter.com/y0Ev7SDg7K
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 18, 2019
Ridley was the 16th receiver taken in the NFL draft.
Former NFL scout and current NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks took note of Ridley during film study.
“Ridley is a crafty technician with a knack for getting open and making tough catches in traffic,” Brooks penned.
Indeed, Ridley grades out among the top route runners in the nation and developed into a favorite target of Jake Fromm over the past two seasons.
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 24, 2019
Ridley said he’s flattered by comparisons to his brother Calvin, but he feels he possesses different skills.
“I feel like we are two different receivers,” Riley Ridley said. “I’m more of a physical guy, I like to attack. I feel like my bother is more of a route runner, not to say I don’t run good routes, but I’m more physical and I like to attack.”
Ridley’s NFL combine performance, however raised flags and likely cost him draft position.
Most notably, Ridley ran a 4.58-second time in the 40-yard dash and recorded a 30.5-inch vertical leap — both considered sub-par at the receiver position.
Ridley passed on re-testing at Georgia Pro Day on March 20, leaving some among the scouts and representatives from the 32 NFL teams somewhat flabbergasted.
Ridley, however, said he was at peace with his performances.
“I put my best foot forward every time I step on the field,” Ridley said at Georgia Pro Day on March 20. “What I put out at the combine is what I put out, and I’m happy about it.
“I’m in a blessed position in my life, so it’s all smiles for me.”