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Bair Mail: On Desmond Ridder, Iowa State's Will McDonald IV, and trading back in the NFL Draft 

Ashton answer's your questions in this Friday mailbag. 

Happy Friday, Falcons fam. Hope y'all are doing great. As you can see, I've been holding down Bair Mail's this week so I appreciate all of your questions. Also, quick reminder, be sure to follow Scott and Tori's coverage at the NFL combine. They've been doing amazing work in Indianapolis.


In this Friday mailbag, we tackle a few topics so let's get right into it.


Josh Stingley from Frankfort, KY.

I've been keeping up with Desmond Ridder for a while. Mainly during his Cincinnati days. I think he did pretty well over his first four starts. I'm curious to know do you think he's the long-term solution for the Falcons quarterback position? or do you think they should sign a veteran quarterback to come in and start?

Edmunds: Thanks for the question, Josh. I agree that Desmond Ridder fared well throughout his first four starts. I think it's hard to say whether he's the Falcons' long-term solution at the quarterback position right now. I'm interested to see him play a full season at the helm. If he is ultimately named the starter for the 2023 season, I do believe he's certainly capable of emerging as a really good quarterback in this league. I mean, for him to not have a single turnover in any of his four starts is impressive. And watching how he responded to his first two losses, by winning the last two games of the season told me a lot about the kind of leader he is. So, in essence, there's a lot to like about Ridder.

Falcons GM Terry Fontenot was asked about Ridder on Tuesday at the combine. Here's his response:

"We've been really clear with how we feel about Desmond Ridder and what he's done to this point in his career," Fontenot said. "His makeup, and just the way he's handled every role that he's been in and what he did over the last four games of the season. He dealt with adversity. He got off the mat. He kept fighting. Desmond has done some good things and we know he's going to continue to improve this offseason."

To your second question, I think it's worth letting Ridder play a full season and maybe signing a veteran quarterback to be the backup.

Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald IV (9) gets past Southeast Missouri State offensive lineman Terry Cook (76) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

Sean Bradham from Macon, Ga.

I recently saw Will McDonald IV linked to the Falcons in Mel Kiper's most recent mock draft. I've never heard of him but I'm curious to know what are your thoughts on him? How do you feel like he'll fit with the Falcons?

Edmunds: I've watched some of his film a couple days ago and I'll say, dude is a monster coming off the edge. He's a bit smaller compared to some of the other edge rusher's in this year's draft class but I think he'll make a solid transition to the NFL nonetheless. McDonald's agility makes him a nightmare for offensive lineman.

ESPN NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler said on Feb. 3 that "the NFL found its next combine standout in Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV. I talked to several scouts in Mobile who expect him to test very well in Indianapolis in a month. McDonald plays with a lot of explosion, though a chief concern is his thinner frame."

So, with everything mentioned, I think it's worth noting to keep an eye on out McDonald leading up to the draft. And yes, I think he'll fit well in Atlanta under the guidance of defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen, who's developed some of the league's best defensive lineman.

Antwon Smith from Riverdale, GA.

Should the Falcons trade back into the 20's to get more Draft capital for 2023 and beyond? EDGE is deep in this draft and since Anderson and Carter may be gone, it seems logical.

Edmunds: This one is tough because like you said, EDGE is deep in this draft. I mentioned this in the previous Bair Mail, but even if Will Anderson Jr. and Jalen Carter are taken off the board before No. 8, you still have Myles Murphy, Tyree Wilson, Lukas Van Ness, and Nolan Smith that you can decide from. I think it also depends on what happens in free agency. That could play a role in deciding if a trade back is needed.

So, I don't think it's necessary for the Falcons to trade back honestly. Right now, they still have nine draft selections and the gap between their first two picks (eighth and 44th) isn't that large. Plus, they have two picks in both the fourth (110th and 113th) and seventh rounds (226th and 249th). I definitely appreciate your logic, but I think the Falcons are pretty well positioned to build a formidable team.

Call for questions

Be sure to submit your questions right here for inclusion in the next Bair Mail installment.

Join us as we take a look back at our favorite photos of our home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, during the 2022 Atlanta Falcons season.

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