After having a quiet rookie season in 2019, Chicago Bears wide receiver Riley Ridley looks to make some noise in 2020.
The Chicago Bears‘ wide receivers corps struggled in 2019. They ranked 25th in yards and 26th in touchdowns. They had those dismal numbers despite ranking 13th in receptions.
The Bears made some changes this offseason. They waived Taylor Gabriel, the fastest receiver on the roster. In his place, the team drafted speedy Darnell Mooney and signed Ted Ginn Jr, another speedster.
Even though the Bears added speed on the roster, they still need another receiver to step up and make some big catches.
That receiver could be Riley Ridley. Ridley was the Chicago Bears’ fourth-round pick (126th overall) in last year’s draft. He played sparingly in his rookie season, however, only recording six catches for 69 yards in five games. He struggled with injuries early in training camp and just never got in rhythm enough to earn more playing time.
This season, in addition to Ginn and Mooney, the Bears also have Allen Robinson (the team’s leading receiver the last two seasons) and Anthony Miller. Robinson is the Bears’ go-to receiver and Miller picked it up in 2019 as the season progressed after a slow start.
There is also Cordarrelle Patterson, but he’s the Swiss army knife of the offense. He’ll line up all over the field for the Bears, even in the backfield.
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That leaves Ridley and Javon Wims. Both may make the team but one of the two will get extended playing time.
Ridley gets an opportunity in his second season to show that the Bears could depend on him. He’s ready to have a big season this year. Some view Mooney or Ginn as the starters on the outside, but Mooney is 5-foot-10 so he’ll share the slot with Miller, and Ginn is 5-foot-11, but at 35 years of age he isn’t the future.
Ridley is 6-foot-1 and weighs 200 pounds. He has the size you want in a receiver. Additionally, he runs great routes and is incredibly athletic. He makes those crazy catches in traffic that former Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery constantly made before leaving.
Ridley impressing the coaches already
If Ridley can show those skills early in camp the starting outside receiver job is his to lose. He has to start strong and make an impression on the coaches. It appears as he’s already done that.
Chicago Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey spoke to the media and complimented Ridley.
I’m excited about Riley. From the time we left the last snap last year to where we will be this training camp, you’re going to have a guy coming in that now has the confidence he can play in the NFL… He’s been around Allen Robinson and he’s seen these guys on a daily basis, and so now you have a guy that’s going to be hungry coming in…
As Furrey said, Ridley knows what to expect better this year. Missing training camp time really hurt him as a rookie. This year, with his 2019 experience under his belt, he knows what to expect. He’ll find himself on the field more than last season and he’ll excite fans with his incredible catches. If he does that, he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.