Desmond Ridder took in a deep sigh as he put on his Falcons draft cap on Friday night. After a long wait, the former Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback was drafted by Atlanta with the 74th overall pick in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Ridder was the second quarterback selected in the draft; former Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett was taken by the Steelers with the 20th pick in the first round. The 52 picks marks the longest span between the first two quarterbacks selected in the draft since 1975.
The Falcons selected Ridder after taking USC wideout Drake London with the No. 8 overall pick, Penn State pass rusher Arnold Ebiketie with the No. 38 overall pick, and Montana State linebacker Troy Anderson with the No. 58 overall pick. Ridder will join a quarterback room that also includes Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft who was signed earlier this offseason.
Ridder comes to Atlanta after the Falcons traded longtime starter Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. In Ridder, the Falcons are getting a 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback who put up gaudy numbers during his four seasons at Cincinnati. During that time, Ridder threw for over 10,200 yards with 87 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He also ran for 28 touchdowns that included a whopping 12 scoring runs in 2020.
Perhaps more impressive than his stats was the Bearcats' record with Ridder at quarterback. Cincinnati went 44-7 over the past four years that included a 13-1 season in 2021. With Ridder under center, the Bearcats became the first non-Power Five Conference team to advance to the College Football Playoffs.
Ridder will now look to leave his mark in Atlanta, where the Falcons are in pursuit of their first winning season since 2017.