When you compare Riley Ridley to Javon Wims head to head, which players should be ahead on the depth chart?
The Chicago Bears have Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller set as starters. However, from there, they will be looking for competition to help fill out the rest of the depth chart. Ted Ginn was signed, and Darnell Mooney drafted to fill in the for Taylor Gabriel role from last year. However, there will also be a battle between Riley Ridley and Javon Wims for the fourth and potentially third receiver ahead of those two.
They would have to show that they are worthy of stepping into that role, but as of now, they may be just as likely fighting for end of the roster spots. Wims has been in the NFL for two seasons, while Ridley was a rookie in 2019. How do the two stack up?
When looking at their prospect profiles, Javon Wims is the better athlete and prospect. Wims is 6’3″ and 215 pounds with a 4.53 40-yard dash. Ridley is 6’1″, 199 pounds, with a 4.58 40-yard dash. Ridley is shorter, lighter, but also slower.
Wims had a 105 speed-score, to a 90.5 for Ridley. On the speed score scale, 100 is average. However, both have a similar burst score. Ridley posted a 113.9 in his weight-adjusted explosion scores. Wims had a 113.5. Both are similarly explosive in the air, with Wims having greater deep speed.
The nice thing about Javon Wims and Riley Ridley is that they played at the same college. Georgia is a run-first offense, so neither exploded in terms of production. However, target share and dominator rating look into the percent of production each receiver has within their offense. This tells us who the primary options were in the passing game, and who the team had to get the ball to.
Wims had a 23.6% target share and a 28.2% dominator rating. He saw 23.6% of the offensive targets and turned it into 28.2% of the production. That was efficient on 16 yards per catch. On the other hand, Ridley had a 16.2% target share and a 22.2% dominator rating. So, he did outproduce his target share, but he saw less of the pie and was less dominant than Wims in college.
Wims had better a better on the field and athletic profile.
Wims may have done more, not he field, but Ridley was more respected in the NFL community. He had a better draft grade by most media outlets, and Ridley went in the fourth round, pick 126 while Wims fell 98 picks laters, to pick 224.
That could have to do with Wims being 25.7 years old, while Ridley is 23.8 years old. Wims is just one year younger than Allen Robinson. When you are in college, it is easier to find success when you are older than your peers, as physical maturity is vital at that age.
Of course, their prospect profile and draft slot mean little when compared to what they do in the NFL. It does provide a helpful context considering neither has a large sample in the NFL, though.
Wims has a full season on Ridley but has played 517 snaps to just 108 for Ridley. It was clear that Wims was trusted more last season. Wims also played 45 special teams snaps last season. Ridley played only six, and to top that off, had a penalty.
Coaches are going to favor players that they trust, and they are going to trust players who show progress on special teams. In terms of experience, and special teams ability, Wims gets an edge.
Over two years, Javon Wims has run 299 routes while Ridley has run 72. Wims was ahead of Ridley all of 2019, but Ridley ran more routes as a rookie than Wims did.
Overall, Wims has 22 receptions on 43 targets for 218 yards. Ridley was targeted just eight times but had six receptions for 69 yards.
Yards Per Route Run
Of course, we can dig a bit deeper beyond the raw stats and see if there is more to the story. Ridley has run about a third of the routes run, but he averages 0.9 yards per route. On the contrary, Wims averaged 0.73 yards per route run. So, while Wims was getting on the field, Ridley saw more production when he was on the field.
Depth of target
Javon Wims had an average depth of target of 9.2 compared to 8.9 for Ridley. With that in mind, they are being used similarly. This makes sense as they likely are competing for a similar role in the offense.
However, it is worth noting that Wims averaged 3.8 air yards per completion. Wims was attacked down the field, but most of those targets were the ones that turned incomplete. Ridley averaged 7.4 air yards per completion.
This shows in their receiving yards created over air yards as well. Ridley created 1.11 yards for every air yard, while Wims created 0.4. Wims was getting on the field, and was targeted down the field, but was inefficient. It is a small sample size, but Ridley created more on his chances.
It is worth noting that Wims had eight contested targets, while Ridley had zero. Mitch Trubisky trusted Wims and gave him chances to get the football, while he had to see Ridley open to give him a target. Wims had a 37% completion rate on contested passes.
This can show in their separation as well. Javon Wims averaged 1.24 yards of separation while Ridley averaged 2.07. Wims saw 4.1 yards of cushion while Ridley saw 4.4. Wims was targeted in contested situations more, but Wims was covered tightly more often as well. Still, again, this is a small sample for Ridley, and as a fifth receiver getting in late in games, he may have gained more separation inherently.
Lastly, we will look at yards after the catch. Both averaged 2.5 yards after the catch per reception. Neither is elite after the catch, but both can take what is given. Still, Wims averages 1.1 yards after the catch per target while Ridley averages 2.4 yards after the catch per target.
Overall, it is clear that at this current moment the coaching staff favors Wims. Wims has played nearly five times as many snaps and ran about three times the number of routes. He has over three times the production and is trusted more on special teams. Beyond that, Wims is more athletic, and the Georgia coaches and quarterbacks trusted Wims the nod over Ridley as well.
However, Wims has also shown that he has not been very efficient. Ridley has not seen the chances that Wims has, but he has been more efficient in just about any metric you can find. Beyond that, Ridley is close to being two years younger than Wims, despite having only one less year of NFL experience.
There is more of a question about what Riley Ridley can be than Javon Wims. We may know what we have in Wims.
The question is, what do the coaches prefer. Do they want a back end of the roster player that they know that they can trust in Wims, or do they want to see what they have in Ridley, hoping that with more playing time, he can remain efficient?