PROS: Has good speed and burst and closes well on the ball. Can fill the gap and make stop at the point of attack. Does a nice job when he's attacking the line of scrimmage. Works well on short zones and does a nice job reading the quarterback and making play on the ball.
CONS: Lacks ideal hips to match up in man coverage. Gets stuck in traffic when trying to defend the inside run. Lacks ideal instincts, overly relying on speed and athleticism to make plays. Gets caught out of position when working in space. Can bite on play fakes and get caught looking in the backfield. Not a factor as an edge rusher on the occasions he puts his hand in the dirt.
OVERVIEW: A two-year starter on the weakside. Combined for 157 tackles, 11.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, and 2 picks. He can play the weakside, but doesn't have great potential in coverage to be a great fit there.
NFL FORECAST: Riley likely will play weakside in a 4-3 scheme, but his less than ideal ability in coverage will limit how much playing time he gets. He'll probably be a career backup, but might be able to contribute a few years as a starter three or for years down the line. But I don't think he has the ability to be a stopgap starter for more than two or so years. He just doesn't do anything particularly well enough to think he could shine as a starter.
ATL FORECAST: Riley could be a decent backup WILL in Atlanta, but he lacks the starting potential to be considered a good option to replace Peterson in the near future. Rather, he'd likely be the backup to whoever that player is going forward. He is an upgrade over a player like James and might be over Wire down the road. But his ability to contribute early in Atlanta would be tied to his ability to contribute on special teams right away.
VALUE: Riley is at best a fifth round talent as an outside linebacker targeted for depth.
Scouting reports of outside and inside linebackers in the 2010 draft.
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