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2022 NFL Draft scouting report: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Taking a look at another quarterback prospect that the Falcons have an interest in.

NFL: Scouting Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Desmond Ridder was an eventual starter for the Cincinnati Bear Cats after being redshirted his freshman year. After starting 11 games in 2018, Ridder proved to be a dual threat quarterback and was named AAC Rookie of the Year.

Ridder then led the Bear Cats to their 2nd consecutive 11 win season, all while fighting injuries and proving his toughness on the field. By the end of his college career, Ridder had amassed a total of 10,239 yards passing with 87 touchdowns, as well as 2,179 yards rushing with 28 touchdowns, and he finished in 8th place in Heisman Trophy voting in the 2021 season. Shown to be a good leader on and off the field, Ridder has the ability and makeup necessary to be a good player in the NFL.

Here’s my evaluation of Desmond Ridder and why the Falcons could possibly have him on their radar.

The basics

Player Height/Weight: 6’3” – 211 lbs

Games Watched: vs. Notre Dame (2021), vs. Alabama (2021), Vs. South Florida (2021)

Strengths

  • Plus athlete with decent size
  • Shows good pocket poise and presence
  • Visible leader with confidence
  • Very tough competitor
  • Good enough arm strength to make all the throws necessary
  • Has good mobility but keeps his head up field as he prefers to make plays from the pocket
  • When needed, definitely has the speed and athleticism to make plays with his legs
  • Shows good balance on his drops when delivering throws
  • Shows patience when routes are developing
  • Has an ability to throw with anticipation
  • Has improved on his release from year to year

Weaknesses

  • His patience with routes can lead to taking unnecessary sacks from holding onto the ball
  • When rushed or hurried, his mechanics get sloppy, which can lead to inaccuracy
  • Good arm strength, but not great as he can underthrow on deep routes
  • His velocity for tight window throws is just okay and could lead to turnovers at the next level
  • Needs to learn how to manipulate safeties with his eyes as he tends to telegraph throws

As we continue to look at the QB prospects for this class, Desmond Ridder is certainly one who I’m sure that general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith have been taking an interest in. Ridder has the ability to start immediately, if needed, as a game manager, and he can improve in time. There are quite a few teams that will definitely fall in love with a player that plays with confidence and good leadership qualities like Ridder has.

However, while Ridder has the physical traits to be solid at every aspect of the position, there’s not one aspect of his game to which he truly excels. He is definitely a player that I can see having a solid career as a future starter in the NFL due to his toughness, IQ and leadership abilities. I don’t, however, see Ridder worthy of a 1st round pick, but some teams that are desperate for a quarterback just may take that chance. Whether the Falcons view him as someone they can build around remains to be seen, but we’ll find out in a few short weeks.