Duke Riley (American football)

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Duke Riley
No. 42 – Atlanta Falcons
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1994-08-09) August 9, 1994 (age 24)
Buras, Louisiana
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 232 lb (105 kg)
Career information
High school: John Curtis Christian
(River Ridge, Louisiana)
College: LSU
NFL Draft: 2017 / Round: 3 / Pick: 75
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career NFL statistics as of Week 1, 2018
Total tackles: 32
Sacks: 0.0
Forced fumbles: 0
Fumble recoveries: 0
Interceptions: 0
Player stats at NFL.com

Duke Riley (born August 9, 1994) is an American football linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at LSU.

Early years[edit]

Riley attended John Curtis Christian High School in River Ridge, Louisiana. He committed to Louisiana State University (LSU) to play college football.[1]

College career[edit]

Riley played at LSU from 2013 to 2016. After spending his first three seasons as a backup, he became a starter for the first time his senior year in 2016.[2][3] That season, he had 93 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one interception and was named the teams MVP.[4][5][6]

Professional career[edit]

On November 16, 2016, it was reported that Riley had accepted an invitation to play in the Reese's Senior Bowl, joining LSU teammates Tre'Davious White, Ethan Pocic, Travin Dural, and Kendell Beckwith.[7] On January 2, 2017, it was announced by Lil' Wayne on Instagram that Riley had signed with his company Young Money APAA Sports, and had successfully merged with his Young Money Entertainment record label. He became the company's first client they represented.[8] He had an impressive week of practices at the Senior Bowl under Cleveland Browns' head coach Hue Jackson, showing athleticism, quick instincts, and range.[9] On January 28, 2017, Riley recorded a team-high seven combined tackles (four solo), helping the South defeat the North 16-15. His overall performance was spectacular during the 2017 Senior Bowl and was thought to immensely improve his draft stock.[10] He received an invitation to the NFL Combine and completed nearly all of the required drills, but opted to skip the short shuttle and three-cone drill.[11] On April 5, 2017, Riley participated at LSU's pro day, but opted to stand on his combine numbers and only perform positional drills.[12] Over 125 team representatives and scouts attended, including head coaches Sean Payton (Saints), Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Mike Mularkey (Titans), Todd Bowles (Jets), and Jim Caldwell (Lions).[13] Riley opted to run the 40-yard dash (4.64), 20-yard dash (2.67), and 10-yard dash again while also performing positional drills. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Riley was projected to be a second to fourth round pick by the majority of NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the seventh best outside linebacker by NFLDraftScout.com.[14]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 1 in
(1.85 m)
232 lb
(105 kg)
32 in
(0.81 m)
9 14 in
(0.23 m)
4.60 s 1.56 s 2.65 s 4.21 s 6.89 s 34 12 in
(0.88 m)
10 ft 2 in
(3.10 m)
18 reps
All values from NFL Combine[15]

The Atlanta Falcons selected Riley in the third round (75th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.[16] He was reunited with former LSU teammate Deion Jones who Riley looked at as a role model as an elite linebacker at LSU. Riley also wore number 0 at the Senior Bowl to hopefully begin a tradition that began with Jones when he was the first player to don the number 0 in a Senior Bowl.[17]

On May 11, 2017, the Atlanta Falcons signed Riley to a four-year, $3.51 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $889,752.[18]

Throughout training camp, Riley competed with De'Vondre Campbell, Josh Keyes, J'Terius Jones, and Jermaine Grace for the starting weakside linebacker position.[19] Head coach Dan Quinn named him the backup weakside linebacker to veteran De'Vondre Campbell to begin the season.

He earned his first start in the Atlanta Falcons' season-opener against the Chicago Bears and made six combined tackles in the 24-17 victory. Riley earned his first career start at weakside linebacker with De'Vondre Campbell starting at the strongside linebacker position over Vic Beasley. Duke Riley, De'Vondre Campbell, and Deion Jones were the starting linebacker corp in the Atlanta Falcons' big base package. Unfortunately, Riley missed four tackles during the game, but played 49 out of 67 defenivse snaps.[20] On October 22, 2017, Riley recorded a solo tackle in a 7-23 loss to the New England Patriots, but left the game after tearing his meniscus. He underwent successful surgery to repair the tear and missed the next four games (Weeks 8-11).[21]


  1. ^ LSU expected to receive commitment from John Curtis linebacker Duke Riley
  2. ^ Duke Riley following Deion Jones' lead as a senior starter at LSU
  3. ^ Chasing the dream: After 3-year wait, 'Little Duke' Riley emerges as force for LSU
  4. ^ Hard work is way of life for NFL prospect Duke Riley of LSU
  5. ^ Duke Riley trying to add to LSU LB tradition at Senior Bowl
  6. ^ LSU linebacker Duke Riley awarded team MVP at senior banquet
  7. ^ Shea Dixon (November 16, 2016). "Duke Riley lands Senior Bowl invite". 247sports.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  8. ^ "'Drake of football?' Lil Wayne has big plans for Falcons rookie Duke Riley". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  9. ^ Jeff Risdon (January 26, 2017). "Senior Bowl watch: Duke Riley offers range at linebacker". texanswire.usatoday.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  10. ^ Jim Kleinpeter. "Duke Riley helps South to Senior Bowl victory". Nola.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  11. ^ "Duke Riley, DS #7 OLB, LSU". nfldraftscout.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Sonny Shipp (April 5, 2017). "LSU Pro Day results". 247sports.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  13. ^ Julie Boudwen (May 5, 2017). "Check out these 9 quotes from LSU Pro Day". Nola.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  14. ^ "Duke Riley, DS #7 OLB, LSU". nfldraftscout.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  15. ^ "NFL Draft Profile: Duke Riley". NFL.com. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  16. ^ Conway, Kelsey (April 28, 2017). "Falcons Select LB Duke Riley With No. 75 Overall Pick". AtlantaFalcons.com.
  17. ^ Jim Kleinpeter (January 24, 2017). "Duke Riley trying to add to LSU LB tradition at Senior Bowl". Nola.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  18. ^ "Spotrac.com: Duke Riley contract". spotrac.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  19. ^ "Ourlads.com: Atlan Falcons' depth chart: 08/01/2017". ourlads.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  20. ^ Vaughan McClure (September 14, 2017). "Falcons' Deion Jones to Duke Riley on missed tackles: Been there". espn.com. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  21. ^ Vaughan McClure (October 23, 2017). "Sources: Falcons' Duke Riley set for knee surgery, return unclear". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 23, 2017.

External links[edit]