2019 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Riley Ridley
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: The rushing offenses of the SEC can suppress the production of some talented wide receivers, and Ridley fell into that trap at Georgia. The Bulldogs have featured a phenomenal rushing attack over the past few seasons, and that hurt the number of targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns for the likes of Ridley and Terry Godwin. While they did not have massive numbers in college, Ridley showed enough to earn a lot of praise from team sources who feel he could be a nice value pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Ridley is a Florida product and the younger brother of Calvin Ridley, a prolific wide receiver at Alabama who was a first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in the 2018 NFL Draft. Riley Ridley did not have much production as a freshman (12-238-2) or sophomore (14-218-2), but he finished his second season in impressive fashion against Alabama to end his sophomore campaign. In 2018, Ridley totaled 44 catches for 570 yards and nine touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, who is currently with Tennessee, is respected for running a pro-style system, and he has given a lot of praise to NFL scouts and coaches about Ridley. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Ridley was a little slower than expected with a 40 time of 4.58 seconds.
Ridley may not ever become a team's No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL, but he could be a very good No. 2 wide receiver. Ridley is a polished receiver who does everything well. He is a smooth route-runner who is quick in and out of his breaks. He has a nice first-step off the snap with shiftiness to generate separation from press-man coverage. Ridley uses his route-running and quickness to consistently generate separation.
Once he gets open, Ridley is superb at finishing the play. He has natural hands and is astute to put his hands up late to not tip off defensive backs that the ball is coming. Ridley tracks the ball extremely well and has fantastic body control to adjust to the ball while making acrobatic catches along the sideline. Even though he is not a big wideout, Ridley is skilled at making catches around coverage to win on 50-50 balls. He has very good concentration and plays very poised when covered with passes coming his direction.
Ridley is not a true No. 1 receiver because he lacks game-breaking speed and is not overly big or physical. Thus, he is a better fit as a second- or third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. In the NFL, he could be a good starter and a quality No. 2 receiver. Ridley would be best being paired with a true No. 1 receiver, but in his role, he could be a real asset and help his offense with solid, dependable play.
Player Comparison: Allen Hurns. Team sources compared Ridley to Hurns, which makes a lot of sense. Hurns (6-1, 208) and Ridley are nearly identical in size. While they are not overly fast, they combine good hands with crafty route-running. Hurns had a big 2015 season, but he is better as a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. Ridley could be a similar caliber pro who produces more than Hurns if he lands with a good quarterback.
NFL Matches: New York Jets, Buffalo, Miami, New England, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Denver, Green Bay, San Francisco, Arizona, Dallas, New Orleans, Oakland
There could be a lot of teams in the market for an upgrade at wide receiver during the 2019 NFL Draft, so Ridley should have plenty of teams hoping to land him.
In the AFC East, Ridley could land with any of the four teams. The Patriots could use some youth at wideout, and Ridley would be a good replacement for Brandin Cooks. Miami needs more receiving weapons, while the Jets have a poor receiving corps and need to give Sam Darnold more play-makers. Buffalo could use another receiver to go with John Brown and Cole Beasley. With Allen's right-arm cannon, Ridley could be a nice fit as a receiver to challenge defenses downfield.
Baltimore could use more receiving talent for Lamar Jackson, and Ridley would bring a big-play, speed element the Ravens are lacking. Cleveland could use more receiving weapons for Baker Mayfield, so it could make sense for the organization to reunite Ridley with Mayfield.
Tennessee needs to find more weapons for Marcus Mariota. Ridley would make sense as a shifty receiver to go across from Corey Davis.
Denver traded away Demaryius Thomas, and Ridley would give the team a long-term complement to go across from Courtland Sutton. Staying in the AFC West, Ridley could be considered by Raiders in the second round because they could use a third receiver for Jon Gruden's offense.
Green Bay could consider Ridley late in the first round or in the second round. The Packers could view Ridley as their replacement for Randall Cobb.
Christian Kirk was a nice addition by the Cardinals, but they could use more receiving weapons and Larry Fitzgerald won't play forever. The 49ers could use more receiving talent on their offense, and Ridley could give them a threat across from Dante Pettis.
The Cowboys traded for Amari Cooper, but he's inconsistent and they need more than just him to help Dak Prescott. Ridley could be a good receiver to help take advantage of safeties coming up to defend Ezekiel Elliott.
Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall were signed midseason in 2018 by the Saints because Sean Payton was frustrated with his wide receivers aside from his No. 1, Michael Thomas. Ridley could be a great fit in the New Orleans offense.
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