Quarterback Desmond Ridder jumped off the screen during drills at the Combine, highlighted by a 4.52 40-yard dash. Take a look at this 2022 NFL Draft Profile, featuring the Cincinnati Bearcat legend.
Name – Desmond Ridder
School – Cincinnati
Position – Quarterback
DOB – August 31, 1999 (22 years old)
Height – 6030
Weight – 207
Hand Size – 1000
Arm Length – 32 7/8″
Wingspan – 78 7/8″
Desmond Ridder grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and was raised by both his mother and grandmother. He stood out on the football team for St. Xavier High School, catching the eye of Cincinnati. Luke Fickell took over the team in 2017, Ridder’s final year of high school, and he decided to honor the scholarship that was offered by the previous staff.
This decision proved to be one of the best that Fickell has made in his life. The pair put Cincinnati on the map during their time together. Ridder played in 50 games (starting 48) and finished with a 44-6 record overall. That places him in elite company as one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history.
Quarterback wins is not the stat to use when evaluating a passer, but the numbers back it all up. He finished with over 10,000 career passing yards and threw for 87 touchdowns on a 62% career completion. The percentage is weighed down by an extremely inconsistent first couple seasons, but he corrected a lot of the issues and averaged 65.5% on 668 attempts combined as a junior and senior.
As is evident following his stellar performance at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ridder is also a top-tier athlete for the quarterback position. He has a great frame and 4.5 speed, which resulted in over 2000 career rushing yards and 28 touchdowns. One thing that the Bearcats could have utilized more was Ridder’s ability with his legs. When evaluating him, it surprised me how little they would roll him out or call designed runs.
After a storied career and great Combine, Ridder is continuing his momentum towards hearing his name called on day one of the 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s check out what traits are NFL-ready and what still needs improved.
2022 NFL Draft Profile: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Experience – Ridder started early and ended up with an astounding 48 career starts at Cincinnati. He is very polished with the fundamentals and shows a poise that can only come from being a starting quarterback for multiple seasons.
Pro Style – Ridder is extremely smart and has a great understanding of the offense that he is running, as well as the defensive coverages that are being deployed against him. He gets through his progressions well and will not be overwhelmed by the pre-snap responsibilities that come with being an NFL quarterback.
Arm Talent – Ridder has a fastball that extends to all three levels of the field. He is capable of making any throw needed to run an offense at the next level, and he makes it look easy. He has an effortless motion and a knack for creating big plays downfield.
Athleticism – Ridder will never be confused for an Olympic-level athlete, but he boasts a stronger frame than other rushing threats in the 2022 NFL Draft. While he lacks the pure explosiveness of Malik Willis, his 6’3″ frame should hold up a bit better over the long haul. He does well creating plays outside of the pocket and it would be wise for an offensive coordinator to bake some designed runs into their playbook upon drafting Desmond Ridder.
Pocket Mobility – While his overall mobility isn’t in question, he needs to clean up his movement within the pocket. There are too many instances of Ridder drifting in the pocket to the side that he’s throwing to. He must do a better job of standing tall in the pocket and not being afraid to throw in a phone booth.
Consistency – It is maddening to watch Ridder play sometimes because he misses some of the easiest throws you’ll ever see. It makes very little sense considering how solid his overall throwing mechanics are. It feels like he lets emotions take over at times, resulting in throws that are not consistent with the player he is on a majority of snaps.
Ball Placement – One of the most important aspects of playing quarterback is putting the football in places that only your guy can get to. Ridder does well on his deep ball, but so many of the short-to-intermediate timing routes look awkward. Oftentimes the ball is either thrown behind the receiver resulting in slowed momentum, or it is too far out in front of the receiver making it impossible to extend the play after the catch.
There is a lot to love about Desmond Ridder. He has nearly 50 starts under his belt, with very respectable stats in that time frame. Ridder gained a wealth of knowledge from an X’s & O’s standpoint, preparing him for all the responsibilities that a quarterback must deal with pre-snap. His arm is lively, containing a zip that is adequate enough to fit the tight windows at the next level. He needs to continue refining his mechanics and becoming more consistent with his movement in the pocket. The Cincinnati Bearcat quarterback is a very intriguing option for teams due to his ability to serve as a day one starter. His high IQ will allow for a team to ease him in, adding more to the playbook as the years go by in a similar vein to that of Josh Allen and the Bills. He’s worthy of a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.