Javon Wims outproduced Riley Ridley in 2017
When 7th round pick Javon Wims and Riley Ridley were on the field together, Javon Wims was the more productive receiver
When Riley Ridley was drafted it was a surprise in part because they added so many wide receivers last season. However, Ryan Pace sticks to his best player available board and did just that by identifying talent in Riley Ridley.
Many call Ridley the top route runner in the draft and praise his technical skills. The question then becomes if he is so refined for the NFL, why did he not go higher? To start, he did not test well as an athlete. However, as we saw with the slide of D.K. Metcalf, wide receiver is more about technical skill than height, weight, and speed.
So why did plenty technicians go ahead of Ridley? It likely is because while he was praised for his technical skill, it was not on display long enough at Georgia.
He gets a pass because Georgia had a loaded wide receiver group. It is a high profile SEC school, right? However, as the Chicago Bears know, the talent that held back Ridley in 2017 was Javon Wims. Yes, Javon Wims who was inactive for most of his rookie season.
In Wims last season at Georgia, he commanded 28% of the Bull Dogs targets and averaged 16 yards per catch. He finished with 45 catches for 720 yards and
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That year, Riley Ridley had 14 receptions for 218 yards and two touchdowns. It is worth pointing out that Wims was not only a class ahead of Ridley, he is over 18 months older than Ridley. Still, it was clear that in 2017 the Bull Dogs saw Wims as the better player.
Even in Ridleys last season, he saw 22% of the targets and averaged 13 yards per catch. Wims played with Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and demanded more targets than Ridley. Ridley hauled in 43 passes for 559 yards and nine touchdowns. So, 2 fewer receptions, a stunning 160 fewer yards, but two more touchdowns.
These two had the same quarterback, same offense, and even played together in 2017. Wims proved to be the better option. However, Ridley is the one getting the praise and the draft selection. It is worth wondering how much his brother has to do with some of the hype.
Of course, Riley will now get the chance to duel with Wims again and redeem himself. However, this will certainly be looked at as an interesting pick by Pace.