By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
With the 74th pick in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft the Atlanta Falcons selected Desmond Ridder QB of Cincinnati.
With the selection Ridder looks like the future QB in Atlanta.
The Falcons signed Marcus Mariota as a free agent for the 2022 season. The drafting of Ridder signals that Mariota is a bridge quarterback that will play until Ridder is ready to take over the job.
I am guessing by midway through the 2022 season the reigns of the franchise will be handed over to Ridder.
Ridder is a great athlete with an above average NFL arm. He should be able to make all the throws. He ran a 4.52 forty at the NFL Combine so he will be a threat with his legs if the pocket breaks down.
Ridder has a reputation as a student of the game with tremendous work ethic. He started 48 games at Cincinnati so experience should not be an issue.
Some mock drafts had Ridder going in the bottom of the first round so the Falcons got excellent value by him being there at the 74th pick. He finished his college career with over 10,000 yards passing, 87 TD’s to only 28 interceptions. He also rushed for 2,180 yards with 28 TD’s.
He became the Bearcats’ starting quarterback as a redshirt freshman in 2018 and passed for 2,445 yards and 20 touchdowns and gained 583 yards rushing along with 5 touchdowns. He was named the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Rookie of the Year for the 2018 season.
As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Ridder completed 179 of 325 passes for 2,164 yards and 18 touchdowns against 9 interceptions, while also rushing for 650 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Ridder was named the MVP of the 2020 Birmingham Bowl leading the Bearcats to a win over Boston College.
The 2020 season would prove to be a breakout campaign for the junior QB. Ridder was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year after passing 2,296 yards, and 19 touchdowns with 6 interceptions, while also rushing for 592 yards and 12 touchdowns. Ritter played well in the Peach Bowl in a close loss to Georgia.
Ridder led the Bearcats to national prominence in 2021 as the No. 7 Bearcats defeated No. 9 Notre Dame on the road.
Ridder went 19-of-32 for 297 yards and 2 TDs. In addition, he rushed for 26 yards and a game-sealing fourth quarter touchdown as the Bearcats snapped the Fighting Irish’s 26-game home winning streak.
Following an unbeaten 12-0 season, Ridder and the Bearcats went into the 2021 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game ranked number four in the AP Polls, meaning a victory would see them stay in a playoff spot.
Following a 35-20 win over the Houston Cougars, they became the first Group of Five team to make the playoffs, as well as the last major undefeated team going into the post-season. Cincinnati lost to Alabama in the college football playoff 27-6 to finish with a fine 13-1 record.
Career highlights and awards:
2× AAC Offensive Player of the Year (2020, 2021)
AAC Rookie of the Year (2018)
2× First team All-AAC (2020, 2021)
Birmingham Bowl MVP (2020)
Desmond Ridder is a deal for the Atlanta Falcons.
Excellent value/need pick in third round. He brings a quiet confidence to the QB room. He brings some intangibles to the position that the Falcons have not seen in over a decade. Those are mobility, athleticism, and youth.
The Matty Ice era in Atlanta is over. The only memories that remain are the agony of blowing a 25-point lead in the Super Bowl with 2:00 remaining in the third quarter.
Can Desmond Ridder be the next great QB in Atlanta? The jury is out on that right now, but this kid has the work ethic and talent to be an above average to great NFL Quarterback.