Riley Ridley: The Polarizing 3 STAR Prospect

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full working database including 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been/will be scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer.

All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

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Riley Ridley (6’2”, 200) Wide Receiver, Georgia

16 Aggregate Score (3 Star Prospect)

Riley Ridley is one of the most polarizing prospects in this class.  There are few who are lukewarm on him, most are hot or cold (yes or no, in or out, up or down).  His fans cite his athleticism and his hands while his detractors point to his lack of college production and limited route tree.  Ridley has a lot of ability and a lot of potential.

The younger brother of Calvin Ridley, who showed his doubters that he was an NFL caliber receiver last year with the Falcons, Riley will have every chance to prove himself.  With what looks to be greater athletic gifts than his brother, combine numbers will be more important for him than for someone like N’Keal Harry or JJ Arcega-Whiteside because of his limited production profile. If he can confirm elite or close to athleticism, he will get plenty of shots to produce.

College Production

How about 69 receptions for 1015 yards and 13 touchdowns? Sounds great right? Wellll. Those are Ridley’s career numbers at Georgia. In 14 games through his freshman and sophomore season he only recorded 26 catches. He had a 7% target share his freshman year and an 8.5% target share in his sophomore year.  These are not encouraging numbers, but they help explain the lack of production.

As the top receiver last year, he did score 9 times but he only averaged slightly over 3 receptions a game and just 13 yards a catch. Georgia’s offense is not terribly sophisticated and is run heavy almost to a fault. All in all, the lack of production does not sink the ship for Ridley, but it is certainly a red flag.

Speed & Acceleration: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Ridley has the speed to succeed in the NFL. Concerns with long speed were brought up with older brother Calvin. Those same concerns are not there currently with Riley. He shows NFL level speed and he should show the same at the combine. He is not a burner, but no concerns here.

Route Running: Aggregate Score: 3 (Personal Score: 2)

Route running is difficult to assess for Ridley in the Georgia offense. He runs a lot of curls and comebacks. He does not show a complex route tree but he is successful and smooth on the routes he does run.

I am concerned that most of his success has come on similar routes especially with a high level quarterback throwing him the ball. The best thing I can say about his route running right now is that his brother is an absolute technician who can help him improve in this area.

While concern remains for now, there is plenty of optimism to be had.

Blocking: Aggregate Score: 2 (Personal Score: 2)

Functional strength is solid and he does a good job of engaging when he wants to but with how good Georgia’s running game is between the offensive line and the talent at running back, Ridley didn’t need to put a lot of effort into blocking and that shows. He lacks conviction and consistency in this area. Hopefully the team that drafts him can help light a fire under him.

Handwork & Positioning: Aggregate Score: 3.3 (Personal Score: 4)

This is one of Ridley’s biggest strengths that I have seen. He attacks the ball well and has great explosiveness at the top of routes. He is also successful at putting the defender where he wants them by moving his eyes and shoulders during his routes.

This is a strength of his game and it will allow him to make wow plays in the NFL. This likely won’t be what gets him playing time, but it will allow him more opportunities should he struggle early.

Athleticism: Aggregate Score: 3.6 (Personal Score: 3)

Ridley is a solid athlete no question, but there are a lot of better athletes in this class and with his brother’s lackluster combine numbers, I am hesitant to sign off on Ridley being elite. The combine could absolutely change this number, but for now I hold concerns about Ridley’s true ability to separate using his physical tools.

Conclusion: Late 2nd Round Target

Pair my concerns about his route running with my concerns about his athleticism and even with the name value, you get a late 2nd or even early 3rd round grade for fantasy purposes. I very likely won’t get much Ridley in rookie drafts and that is fine by me.

The combine and landing spot could give allow Ridley to rise my rankings slightly, but there is a long list of wideouts I would rather have than a guy who projects to take time to adjust to the NFL and is still in need of refining and development.

Published by

Josh Padgett

Husband and dad. From Indianapolis, to Purdue University, to living in Fort Wayne. Colts season ticket holder. On Twitter too much (@jpadgett94), but thrilled to talk about football, basketball, wrestling and more with anyone, anytime. Resident Devy/Draft guy here at Top 2 Sports. If you learn anything from me, it's that you got to risk it for the biscuit.

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