Desmond Ridder Draft Profile
What are the key things that you look for when trying to find your starting quarterback? I don’t know about you, but I want my guy to have the “It Factor”. I want my quarterback to step up under pressure in the biggest moments. I want my quarterback to make his team better, and I want my quarterback to keep defensive coordinators up at night. There aren’t too many guys who are like that in the NFL, but the guys with those traits are franchise quarterbacks. I am talking about Joe Burrow, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Justin Herbert, those guys… If I am an NFL general manager and looking for a franchise, round one quarterback, those are a few of the traits I am keeping an eye out for. Desmond Ridder did not show me any of those intangibles in any game this season. Does that mean I don’t believe he should be drafted or be in the NFL? No, I believe he’ll be a solid backup in the NFL, but do I believe he has the potential to be a game-changing franchise quarterback? I don’t think so. While I sound critical of Ridder, I would love nothing more than to see him prove me wrong, but in all honesty, I don’t think he has what it takes to be an MVP, Super Bowl-winning quarterback.
Starting with what he does well, he gets the ball out fast and has solid mobility. By no means is it game-changing speed, but it is enough to get him out of trouble and pick up first downs. He does a great job at throwing second-level passes, in between 10 and 20 yards. This is because of his anticipation skills and ability to throw touch passes. Those are two skills where he is ahead of the curb and can be effective as a passer. He does a nice job at carrying the football and is reliable in terms of ball security. When he is in the game, I believe Ridder’s potential is being a game manager; which a team is capable of winning games with. In his final year at Cincinnati, Ridder led the Bearcats to the College Football Playoffs, something that is nearly impossible to do as a non-power five team. His winning resume and leadership skills will help him stay in the league, but I don’t believe Ridder is on the trajectory to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Success is a very subjective term; when looking at first-round quarterback prospects, I am drafting guys with Super Bowl-winning potential. Some general managers might just be looking for young quarterbacks to back up their veterans, and that is okay. There are some very successful backups in the NFL: Chase Daniel, Mitchell Trubisky, etc., but I’m not drafting a backup quarterback in round one. Ridder lacks the “it factor”, struggles against pressure, and constantly misses open receivers. There isn't any "zip" on passes thrown towards the middle of the field and he is inaccurate when throwing the deep ball. I want my quarterback to have giant “you know whats”, but Ridder doesn’t take risks; he is a passive decision-maker. His game is missing excitement and he doesn’t have the “wow” factor that I want my starting quarterback to have. I believe Ridder has the intangibles to be a solid backup quarterback in the NFL, but I wouldn’t draft him until the latter half of day three.
Arm Strength + Deep Ball 6.75/10
Pocket poise 3.5/8
Improvisational Skills 2/5
Decision Making + IQ 7.75/10
Against the Blitz 3/8
Throw on the Run 2.5/5
Final Rating: 63
Pro Comparison: Ryan Finley
Team Fits: Lions, Wait for more teams to announce coaches
Draft Grade: 6th Round Pick
Draft Projection: 3rd Round Pick