Arguably the most surprising thing about the 2022 NFL Draft was how things played out at the quarterback position. Some people predicted multiple quarterbacks going in the first round, but it didn’t pan out that way. Even the Atlanta Falcons surprised people with how they approached the position.
There was only one quarterback selected in the first round, as the Pittsburgh Steelers used the No. 20 overall pick on Kenny Pickett out of Pittsburgh. There wasn’t another quarterback selected until the third round of the draft, which is when the Atlanta Falcons got in on the party.
Atlanta used the 74th overall pick in the draft on Cincinnati signal-caller Desmond Ridder. Ridder was the first of three quarterbacks that were ultimately selected in the third round along with Malik Willis and Matt Corral.
For the Falcons, some analysts believed they could use the No. 8 overall pick on a quarterback, but they went with USC wide receiver Drake London, filling another major need for the team. But, that pick wasn’t graded as highly as the Ridder selection.
Over at CBS Sports, the Falcons received an overall grade of B+ for their draft and the Ridder pick was given an A-. The grade fits the selection, as Atlanta got excellent value by selecting the Cincinnati product.
No matter how weak of a quarterback class you thought this was, landing a player that many projected to go in the first round and was ranked in the top-50 unanimously with the No. 74 present excellent value. Ridder had an excellent 2021 season with the Bearcats and drew some comparisons to Marcus Mariota during the draft process, which is ironic because he will now be backing up Mariota to begin his career.
Ridder brings a ton of experience and some dual-threat ability to the quarterback position. With London joining Kyle Pitts, the team’s first-round pick in 2021, the Falcons’ offense is starting to come around. In another year, when Ridder is likely ready to take over as the starter, this offense should be in good shape for a young player making his debut.