Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.58 seconds (22nd)
Vertical: 30.5” (5th)
Broad: 124” (75th)
3-cone: 7.22 seconds (8th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.28 (35th)
A 4-star prospect and the brother of Calvin Ridley, Riley was mostly quiet during his first 2 seasons at Georgia. He totaled just 26 catches across 25 appearances — although he did average a big 17.5 yards per catch.
Ridley kinda, sorta broke out this past year. He easily set new career highs across the board but still finished outside the top 150 nation-wide in catches and yards. Ridley’s 9 TDs tied for 30th in the country.
The 2018 Bulldogs were a run-centric offense, led by a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield. Georgia ranked 95th in pass attempts, 69th in completions, 48th in yards and 9th in TDs. Even through that lens, though, Ridley’s market shares are underwhelming: 17.8% of the catches, 17.6% of the receiving yards and 26.5% of the receiving scores. Those marks rank 39th, 43rd and 29th among the 48 WRs at this year’s Combine.
Ridley also averaged a subpar 8.9 yards per target and ranked 84th among all draft-eligible WRs in yards per route run (1.80), according to Pro Football Focus.
Courtesy of @WhatsOnDraftNFL
Games watched - South Carolina, Missouri, LSU, Alabama, Texas
Ridley is a relatively polished prospect. He does his best work on the sideline, showing a nice combination of high-pointing ability, body control and awareness.
(How about the throw from QB Jake Fromm in the 1st clip!)
Ridley is also 1 of the better route runners in this WR class.
This ball is thrown high and behind Ridley, but he does a nice job to get inside leverage and make a hard cut to create separation.
His best route might be the comeback. Ridley sells the vertical threat and breaks hard back to the ball.
What you won’t see is Ridley winning with athleticism. He’s not going to run by or jump over many DBs. And he’s not much of a threat after the catch. Georgia used fellow 2019 WR prospect Mecole Hardman on most of their WR screens.
Ridley is a pro-ready and relatively safe prospect, which will appeal to NFL teams. Some well-connected folks believe he has a shot to go in the 1st round of this spring’s draft.
But I wonder if he’d be generating nearly as much buzz if his last name was Smith. His tape is good-but-not-great. Neither his raw production nor his market shares are impressive. And he tested as a 27th percentile athlete at the Combine. Ridley doesn’t have age on his side, either, turning 23 this summer.
His route-running ability gives him a good shot to be a contributor at the next level. But it’s tough to see him emerging as a difference-maker in real life or fantasy football.