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 team in rebuilding mode after trading former NFL AP Most Valuable Player Matt Ryan.
The Falcons signed Marcus Mariota this offseason, but they still needed a long-term heir for Ryan.
A four-year starter in 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 wins is 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).
With a strong arm and the confidence that comes with being a longtime starter, Ridder ignited defenses last season, leading Cincinnati to the first Group of Five college football playoff appearance. He posted a 64.9 completion percentage and 3,334 passing yards with 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2021. Ridder possesses good athleticism and positive pocket acumen to create plays from the structure of the offense. He is a polished passer who is comfortable shooting on the move and possesses ideal dual-threat traits to become a solid starting quarterback in the NFL.
Questions about his accuracy, which tends to wax and wane, persisted throughout the pre-draft process. Still, his energy, IQ and his ability to spread out and execute his offense make Ridder a quality prospect.
Hooking Ridder in the third round reduces the pressure to play the rookie right away. Ridder offers similar characteristics to Mariota, so the Falcons have built a QB room with a parallel skill set to build their offense.
The Falcons could start the season with Mariota, who played in Arthur Smith’s offense in Tennessee, while they develop Ridder and see how the season progresses. Or if the 6-foot-3 rookie gets past Mariota, they could ride the rookie in a rebuild year.
Feleipe Franks, who was used as a gadget player last year, was the only other quarterback on the list before the selection.
After parting ways with Ryan, ATL was a prime team to add a QB in the 2022 draft. A third-round pick, Ridder will get a chance to take the reins at some point as a rookie and prove he can be the long-term solution. under center.