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Is Desmond Ridder a Day 2 quarterback the Steelers should target?

Is Desmond Ridder a quarterback the Steelers should target on Day 2 of the draft?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of many NFL organizations who could be looking at a quarterback in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. However, unlike the other franchises who are looking to add to their current quarterback depth chart, the Steelers possess the 20th overall pick.

Not really conducive to having your pick of the proverbial litter, when it comes to the quarterback position.

The 2022 group of quarterbacks has left many shaking their heads, wondering whether this crop of quarterbacks is truly worth a high draft pick. The big name quarterbacks will certainly be going in the first round, leading to the question of who will be available when the Steelers select 20th. If the Steelers choose to select a quarterback on Day 2 of the process, is there still value there?

After already breaking down Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett and Carson Strong, I decided to take a look at Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder. Ridder is a tough player to wrap your head around. He has the size and athleticism you want in a quarterback, but often is considered to be too inaccurate with the football to be relied upon.

Anyone who has watched film of Ridder, or watched him play, can see the talent he possesses. He is a winner, and has been at every level, but does he have the polish and skill set to achieve the same success at the NFL level?

The next question becomes, is Ridder a Day 2 player who could develop into a future starter for the Steelers?

Don’t listen to me, or anyone else, form your own opinion on Ridder. I plan on doing this for other prospects as the draft approaches. If there is a specific player you’d like to see covered, simply let me know and I’ll be glad to put it together!

Let us know your thoughts on Ridder in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the new league year, NFL Free Agency and the 2022 NFL Draft.


Draft Profiles

Pro Football Network

  • Position: Quarterback
  • School: Cincinnati
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height: 6’3″
  • Weight: 207 pounds
  • Wingspan: 78 7/8″
  • Arm: 32 7/8″
  • Hand: 10″

Ridder’s return to school took him out of a historic draft class in which he earned fourth-to-sixth-round consideration. He now finds himself embroiled in a murky class where no one prospect has truly elevated themselves to the top. There are elements of Ridder’s scouting report that show that he very much belongs in the conversation as an upper-echelon passer prospect.

First off, Ridder has excellent size for the position. Cincinnati lists their quarterback at 6’4″, ensuring that he overshadows many of his contemporaries in the class. While height isn’t the overriding consideration it used to be, it’s certainly a tick in Ridder’s box.

Like Trevor Lawrence in the previous class, Ridder’s height belies a deceptive athleticism. The Cincinnati quarterback moves exceptionally well as a ball carrier. He’s not incredibly fast like a Lamar Jackson, but his long strides allow him to cover ground well.

Ridder also displays stellar change-of-direction ability. He can turn quickly to escape the pocket, and he uses his elusiveness in the open field. The mobility makes him a scoring threat, with 28 rushing touchdowns during his college career.

The Draft Network

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder is an accomplished quarterback that has been a big reason why the Bearcats have been such a prominent program in the college football scene despite not playing in a Power 5 conference. He enters the NFL after four seasons of starting experience and there’s no question he’s battle-tested and tough. Throughout his career, Ridder has demonstrated steady growth and improved in every season. When forecasting him to the next level, Ridder checks the boxes in terms of size, arm talent, mobility, and experience. His arm talent gives him access to the entire field and he is an exceptional runner where he showcases outstanding vision, athleticism, and the ability to break tackles. Because of his dual-threat ability, the entire playbook is available for Ridder’s offense because he doesn’t have any physical limitations. When it comes to areas in need of continued growth as Ridder enters the next level, his ball placement and decision making stand out. At this point, Ridder only has general accuracy. Despite some impressive flashes of accuracy, overall he is inconsistent. While Ridder is far from a turnover machine, his decisions with the ball can be overly aggressive and sometimes fail to account for leveraged defenders. In addition, Ridder has room to improve his mechanics so that his ball placement isn’t as impacted when he cannot achieve his desired sequencing. For a team in need of a franchise savior at the top of the draft, Ridder might not be the right target. For a team with a sound infrastructure and running game that can be relied upon, Ridder has the makings of a reliable starting quarterback with appealing physical traits, experience, and leadership qualities.

Ideal Role: Developmental starting quarterback

Scheme Fit: Run-first offense that features blended concepts in the passing game and involves the quarterback in the running game.

NFL Draft Buzz

SCOUTING REPORT: STRENGTHS
  • Enough arm strength to drive the ball through tight windows up to 20 yards downfield. Spreads the ball around to multiple receivers.
  • He’s tall at 6’4″ and moves very well. He’s not super fast land elusive, but his Kaepernick like long strides allow him to cover ground well
  • Sees the field very well when the play breaks down and occasionally changes plays at the line.
  • Very confident passer and shows good accuracy and feel when in rhythm. Showed better ball placement from past years and throws very catchable passes. Puts too much air in some of his throws and needs to show a lower trajectory on deep throws.
  • Athletic quarterback who is a threat to leave the pocket and gain positive yardage at any time. Possesses very good vision balance, elusiveness, and deceptive speed and power as a runner.
  • Generally accurate on intermediate and short throws; flashes anticipation and placement on intermediate outs and the ability to lead receivers on deeper throws.
  • Possesses a strong right arm and is capable of making every NFL throw easily. Can drive the deep out to the sideline from the opposite hash and has no problem threading the needle between closing defenders. Easily zips to all areas of the field, demonstrating very good touch on underneath routes to running backs and receivers, as well as down the sideline on deep passes.
  • He made Bruce Feldman’s 2021 College Football Freaks List, and reports that he runs a 4.55 40 and 4.00 shuttle with a 36-inch vertical and a 10-foot-8 broad jump at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds.
SCOUTING REPORT: WEAKNESSES
  • Too often fails to give receivers a chance to make a play after the catch. High completion percentage padded by many quick screens.
  • Not the most accurate QB, where he has struggled with completion percentage up until 2020
  • Doesn’t have a lot of touch on his passes
  • Takes too many sacks and this will likely be more of an issue in the NFL
  • Has struggled with his decision-making and needs to improve his pre-snap recognition skills to read defenses and see blitzes. Doesn’t decipher information as quickly as you would like, but does see the entire field and understands coverage.

NFL.com

Strengths

  • Jump in production and play from 2020 to 2021.
  • Team captain who plays with confidence and command on the field.
  • Mobile and athletic but looks to win from the pocket.
  • Pocket poise with easy slide away from pressure points.
  • Quick to process what the defense shows him.
  • Uses eyes to hold single-high safety and set up a deep shot.
  • Patient in allowing routes to mature and uncover.
  • Mobility to elude pressure and reset launch point outside the pocket.
  • Machine-like mechanics and footwork.
  • Operates from a well-balanced platform.
  • Able to pump and alter target choice when needed.
  • Changes speeds and alters touch underneath.
  • Throws the out route with timing and break anticipation.
  • Speed to turn a scramble into a chunk play.

Weaknesses

  • Deep balls have a tendency to come up short.
  • Gives safeties time to range over the top from the post.
  • Average arm strength for tight-window throws.
  • Windup slows overall release quickness.
  • Slower operation time led to 26 career batted passes, per PFF.
  • Struggles in throwing receivers open.
  • Inconsistent accuracy on intermediate throws.
  • Rarely gets all the way through his progressions.
  • Average elusiveness could bring heavy punishment as a runner.
  • Below-average placement and velocity for pro throws.
  • Peels back and over the top of the pocket, leading to sacks.

Sources Tell Us

“He’s a humble leader who leads by example and football is important to him. You will never have to worry about (whether he’s) working on his game to get better.” — Area scout for AFC team


Breakdowns / Highlights


Game Film


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