Chicago Bears: Riley Ridley yet another mid-round steal

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears surprisingly strengthened its offense by selecting Riley Ridley after his unexpected slide into the fourth round.

The Chicago Bears received a gift from the football gods when the NFL Network’s 51st rated prospect slid into their laps midway through the fourth round. Riley Ridley, former Georgia Bulldog, was considered one of the best route runners in this draft.

The NFC North Champs welcome Mr. Ridley with open arms after making him the 126th pick. Ridley comes from a winning program which should allow him to quickly acclimate within this veteran locker room. He has been a major contributor to one of the NCAA’s top programs since his sophomore year.

He was the leading receiver for the Bulldogs last season accumulating 559 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He got his opportunity to shine during the 2018 National Championship game. He went off for six catches and 82 yards in the overtime loss to perennial power Alabama. Ridley finished his collegiate playing career with 69 career catches, 1015 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns.

His potential and bloodlines are what makes him an intriguing pick for the Bears. He is the younger brother of current Atlanta Falcons star Calvin Ridley. The younger Ridley should be an immediate contributor to the Bears offense because he will not be expected to carry the load. He joins an outstanding core of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, and newly signed Cordarrelle Patterson.

He isn’t a burner downfield as his combine numbers would suggest. That shouldn’t be an issue with Gabriel, Patterson, and the human joystick Tarik Cohen expected to take on that role. No, Ridley will do his damage between the hash marks with his superb route-running skills and strong hands. In addition, his willingness to run block downfield will provide him many early opportunities.

Second-year man Miller is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Not only will this provide Ridley with an opportunity to shine but will also allow the Bears to ease Miller back into the grind without rushing his recovery. Ridley’s history suggests he will be ready for the challenge.

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Matt Nagy’s offense now has a plethora of versatile players to choose from. The offense will be able to attack defenses in multiple ways. Ridley now adds to that dangerous attack. Mitchell Trubisky will enjoy his newest sure-handed receiver soon enough.

Until then, stay thirsty and Bear Down.