The Bears on Saturday selected Georgia receiver Riley Ridley with the No. 126 pick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
Ridley declared for the draft following his junior season. In three years at Georgia, he caught 69 passes for 1,015 yards and 13 touchdowns in 28 games. Last year he established career highs with 14 games played, 43 catches, 559 yards and nine TDs.
In joining the Bears, the 6-1, 199-pounder will increase competition and depth at an already-strong position.
“It’s a great example of us taking the best player on the board,” said general manager Ryan Pace. “There are a lot of traits we like about this player: obviously his size, his hands, his catching radius, his ability to win contested battles, his route running.
“[He was] by far the best player on our board and [we’re] very excited to select him. The roster is at a point where we don't have to force anything. That's our mindset every draft, but to have a player of his caliber there and comfortably be able to take him was really a no-brainer because he was so high on our board.”
Ridley is the younger brother of Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley, who had 64 receptions for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns last year as a rookie with the Falcons after being selected by Atlanta with the 26th pick in the first round of the draft.
Riley Ridley is the third Georgia player the Bears have selected in the last two drafts. They chose linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round and receiver Javon Wims in the seventh round last year.
During a pre-draft visit to Halas Hall, Ridley expressed confidence in his ability to win jump balls.
“When he was in here, one of his quotes was, ‘I’m not a 50/50 guy. I win all of them,’” Pace said with a smile. “So that’s kind of his mindset. When the ball is in the air, he’s going to win it.”
Coach Matt Nagy sees Ridley as a quarterback-friendly receiver.
“He’s always extending his arms,” Nagy said. “He’s catching the ball away from his chest. He has very, very, extremely natural hands, which is friendly to a quarterback. And he has the route running. He has confidence and when he was in here with us just talking to him, with where he’s at and what he believes in himself and what he can do, we like that.”