The Falcons have selected quarterback Desmond Ridder from Cincinnati with the No. 74 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Here's everything you need to know about the new Falcons passer.
Stats: 3,334 passing yards | 30 touchdowns | eight interceptions | 110 carries | 335 rushing yards | six touchdowns
Honors: AAC OPOY, First Team All-AAC (2020 and 2021), AAC Rookie of the Year (2018)
Instant Analysis: Atlanta had been flirting with the idea of taking a quarterback in this year's draft class after trading Matt Ryan to Indianapolis and picking up Marcus Mariota on a two-year deal. Ridder is an athletic quarterback with a long frame and strong arm.
Ridder has the physical tools and overall mindset that makes him a very interesting prospect for the Falcons. With Cincinnati, Ridder won a lot, going 43-6 as a starter (undefeated at home). Ridder holds a number of Bearcats records, particularly his 87 career passing touchdowns.
Analysts describe Ridder as being a quarterback who's most comfortable throwing on the move, which speaks to his overall athleticism. Ridder will have to work on his timing, and making sure he doesn't hold onto the ball too long in the pocket, but overall, he's an athlete who has shown he can make plays work. -- Tori McElhaney
What's next: The Falcons have added a receiver, edge rusher, interior linebacker, and now a quarterback, in this NFL Draft. They have one more Day 2 pick at No. 82, with the Falcons able to go in a number of different directions. Adding another receiver or pass rusher would be ideal for position groups lacking talented depth. The interior defensive line and the offensive line could also use fortification. -- Scott Bair
More about Desmond: The 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback was the AAC's offensive player of the year in back-to-back seasons and led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff in his final season. Ridder finished his career at Cincinnati with the third-most wins by a quarterback in college football history at 44 and the Bearcats posted a perfect 26-0 mark at home with Ridder under center. The Louisville native was a four-year starter and threw for 10,239 yards on 810-of-1,304 passing (62.1 percent) with 87 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in 50 career games. He also added 501 rushes for 2,180 yards and 28 scores on the ground.
In 2021, Ridder captained the Bearcats to their second-straight AAC championship and a No. 4 national ranking. He completed 251-of-387 passes for 3,334 yards and 30 touchdowns while adding 355 yards and six scores on the ground. The AAC leader in total touchdowns (113) finished eighth in Heisman Trophy voting and as a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, Semifinalist for the Maxwell, Walter Camp, and Davey O'Brien Awards.
Ridder was a first-team All-AAC pick and the conference's offensive player of the year in 2020 after passing for 2,296 yards and 19 touchdowns while adding 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. His 12 rushing touchdowns ranked second among all FBS quarterbacks and he tied a school record with a 91-yard touchdown run.
As a sophomore, he started 13 games and threw for 2,164 yards with 18 touchdowns to help lead the Bearcats to an 11-win season. Ridder was the conference rookie of the year during his redshirt-freshman campaign, taking the starting job after coming in off the bench. He would go on to start 11 games that season, throwing for 2,445 yards with 20 touchdowns and rushing for 583 yards with five scores. -- Falcons PR