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Rookie Spotlight - Riley Ridley

If you are a fan of Riley Ridley, Georgia football, or the Chicago Bears, you may not like what you are about to read. If you are Calvin Ridley, thanks for reading my article! But also you should close it out right now.

When evaluating prospects' likelihood of NFL success, we care about three main factors:

  1. College performance
  2. Athletic measurables
  3. Draft capital

Riley doesn't stack up in any regard as a high-profile prospect. I could end the analysis right here and be satisfied, but that's no fun. So let's get into why Riley Ridley is not good at football and doesn't warrant investment in your rookie drafts for dynasty.

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College Performance

Riley Ridley played three seasons at Georgia. He was barely used his first two years. He technically "broke out" his junior season, at age 21, posting a 43-559-9 line. Breakout age is one of the stronger indicators of NFL success and Ridley's breakout age lands in the 14th percentile. Ridley did not catch more than five passes in a single game in 2018.

Throughout his college career, Ridley averaged 13.0 yards per reception, which ranked in the 26th percentile. His 22.% dominator rating is 28th percentile. It is exceedingly rare for a WR that fails to reach a 30% dominator rating to succeed on the next level.

Defenders of Ridley will blame Georgia's offense. Well, Georgia's QBs threw for over 3,000 yards. Ridley, the presumed top WR at Georgia, was evidently not good enough to command a higher market share of targets despite competing with legendary college players such as Isaac Nauta, Jeremiah Holloman, and Terry Godwin.


Athletic Measurables

Ridley's college production is a major red flag. What about his measurables? Ridley's 4.58 40 time falls in the 37th percentile...which is his highest-rated athletic trait. His speed score is 36th percentile. His burst and agility scores are 20th and 15th percentile, respectively. His catch radius is 15th percentile. Overall, Ridley is a 20th percentile SPARQ-x athlete.


Draft Capital

Ridley was taken by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round - a day three pick. The fourth round is where the success rate for WRs begins to sharply decline. The odds of a third round WR posting at least one season of 800+ receiving yards is 28.1%. That number falls all the way to 12.9% for fourth-round WRs. Only 5.9% of fourth-round WRs have two seasons of 800+ receiving yards.


Rookie Season Outlook

Barring multiple injuries to WRs in front of him, there is virtually no chance Riley Ridley is a meaningful contributor during his rookie season. He has no chance of supplanting Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, or Anthony Miller. Best case scenario, he beats out Cordarrelle Patterson for the fourth WR job. He is unlikely to push Patterson to the bench, though, because Patterson is an elite contributor on special teams and can lineup in the backfield too.

Perhaps Ridley plays in five-receiver sets. Regardless, the WR4 and even the WR3 on the Bears will not have any real fantasy value. Ridley should go undrafted in even the deepest of redraft leagues.


Long-Term Outlook

Ridley's biggest asset is supposedly his route running. He is proclaimed to be an elite route runner in fact. He is not. He's not a bad route runner, he's fine. But what use does an NFL team have for an un-athletic solid route runner that was unable to produce in college?

If Ridley has any semblance of a successful NFL career, I will be truly astounded. He is one of the worst WRs of the 2019 class. He does nothing particularly well. He is buried on his team's depth chart and the team did not invest enough in him to force him into the lineup.

Look for Ridley to pop up in games here and there for a couple of years until his rookie deal expires. He may not even get a second contract from any team. Ridley will either be out of the league in three or four years or on someone's practice squad/only promoted to the active roster due to injury. His absolute ceiling is a rotational real life WR3/4. He will never be fantasy relevant so spend your dynasty draft capital elsewhere.