The Atlanta Falcons stopped the quarterback drought on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Falcons selected signal-caller Desmond Ridder in the third round with the No. 74 overall pick on Friday night.
The Cincinnati product was the second quarterback selected in the 2022 draft and the first since Kenny Pickett at No. 20 overall.
Ridder heads to an Atlanta squad in rebuild mode after trading former NFL AP Most Valuable Player Matt Ryan.
The Falcons signed Marcus Mariota this offseason but still had a need for a long-term heir to Ryan.
A four-year starter at Cincinnati, all Ridder did was win, win, win. The QB helped the Bearcats compile a 43-6 record during his four seasons, including a 13-1 senior campaign. The 43 victories are the third-most wins all-time by an FBS QB behind Kellen Moore (50 wins at Boise State) and Colt McCoy (45 wins at Texas).
Boasting a strong arm and the confidence that comes with being a longtime starter, Ridder lit up defenses last season, leading Cincinnati to the first-ever Group of Five College Football Playoff appearance. He netted a 64.9 completion percentage and 3,334 yards passing with 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2021. Ridder owns good athleticism and positive pocket acumen to create plays out of the structure of the offense. He’s a polished passer who is comfortable throwing on the move and possesses ideal dual-threat traits to develop into a solid starting NFL quarterback.
Questions about his accuracy — which tends to wax and wane — persisted during the pre-draft process. Still, his moxie, IQ, and ability to distribute and run an offense make Ridder a quality prospect.
Snagging Ridder in the third round reduces the pressure to play the rookie right away. Ridder offers similar traits as Mariota, so the Falcons have built a QB room with a parallel skill set to build their offense around.
The Falcons could start the season with Mariota — who played in Arthur Smith’s offense in Tennessee — while developing Ridder and seeing how the season progresses. Or if the 6-foot-3 rookie outduels Mariota, they could ride the rookie in a rebuilding year.
Feleipe Franks — who was used as a gadget player last year — was the only other QB on the roster ahead of the selection.
After parting ways with Ryan, ATL was a prime team to add a QB in the 2022 draft. Selected in the third round, Ridder will have a chance to take the reins at some point as a rookie and prove he can be the long-term solution under center.
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