The University of Georgia has produced a ton of NFL talent over the years, and Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace appears to be fond of the players coming through the Athens pipeline. Meet the latest player brought in to make the jump from being a Bulldog to a Bear:
You can’t have enough stud prospects from the Georgia, am I right?
Wide receiver Riley Ridley makes three Bulldogs selected by the Bears in the last two drafts. Ridley joins 2018 draft picks (and former UGA teammates) Roquan Smith and Javon Wims, as well as 2016 first-round choice Leonard Floyd. It’s about to be a dog-gone good time in the Bears’ locker room moving forward. (I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself.)
What’s wild about the Ridley pick is that it came one year after the Bears tried to engineer a trade up in the draft to select his older brother – Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley. A year later, it’s the Bears drafting the younger Ridley brother in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. That’s kinda neat. Clearly, the Ridley name carries some weight among the scouts and talent evaluators at Halas Hall.
Georgia had waves upon waves of offensive talent across the board, so Ridley was unable to pick up the volume of receptions that would have certainly bumped up his draft stock to a place that matched his true talent, potential, and upside to scouts at the next level. And yet, he still led Georgia’s pass-catchers with 44 catches, 570 yards, and nine touchdowns. Not bad, young man!
With Ridley’s stats taking a hit because of the talent around him on campus, his reliable hands and remarkable route-running skills made him stand out as a prospect. That skill set should get a chance to shine in Matt Nagy’s offense, which rewarded precise route-runners such as Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel last season.
NFL Network draft guru (and former scout) Daniel Jeremiah believes the Bears got a steal with Ridley:
Pro Football Focus ranked Ridley as the site’s 71st overall prospect. Getting a top-75 guy with pick No. 126 is pretty good value if you ask me.
Mitch Trubisky might be a bit biased — ya know, being a quarterback and all — but he seems to be eager to get to work with the new guy:
— Mitchell Trubisky (@Mtrubisky10) April 27, 2019
So one year after having question-marks around the receivers room, Trubisky should have no shortage of options to throw to in 2019. Things appear to be lining up for QB1. It’s time to make magic happen.