The 2022 NFL offseason has already been the craziest one in recent memory, maybe ever.
This offseason has been full of the balance of power shifting, trades and previously unheard of monster contracts. Numerous franchises have committed to going all-in, and the unforgiving pendulums of expectations are in full swing.
There seems to have been a noticeable shift in team building philosophy across the league, with first round picks devalued. Better to utilize the first round capital to acquire a proven commodity, rather than an unknown. I understand the rationale, but they better have chosen wisely, because multiple teams won't have a first round pick for the next few seasons.
Another thing about the aforementioned proven commodities, they are always quite costly, to say the least. Hence all the record breaking contracts witnessed this offseason. Some of these NFL General Managers may need to contact Gamblers Anonymous, because they have put their franchises in a ‘go big, or go home’ scenario.
That has never been the Pittsburgh Steelers’ style. Kevin Colbert and the Steelers are consistent and calculated. The Steelers watched all the 2022 offseason craziness thus far and have proceeded to conduct their business rationally. After losing their franchise quarterback of the past 18 years to retirement, the Steelers signed the top rated quarterback from free agency in Mitch Trubisky, who appears to be a great fit for the Steelers’ offensive scheme and culture.
After filling numerous other needs in the first week of free agency, the Steelers are in a prime position to draft their next possible franchise quarterback, if they feel one of the 2022 quarterback class fits the description. Many Steelers fans of a certain age will no doubt panic if the Steelers pass on Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett, like they famously did with Dan Marino.
Liberty signal caller Malik Willis is one of the most athletic quarterbacks to ever enter the draft, although he is extremely raw, and will need time to develop.
Although there are actually numerous other prospects worthy of consideration in this quarterback draft class, I believe there is one prospect who seems to be flying under people's radar: Cincinnati Bearcats Desmond Ridder.
For yours truly, Ridder is the most underrated and overlooked quarterback in this class. He has been on my radar for the past two years. He has prototypical dimensions for an NFL signal caller, standing almost 6'4" and weighing 212 lbs, with a frame capable of adding girth. He also has 10" hands, which has been a huge topic of discussion recently.
Ridder has incredible athleticism, on an elite level. He has superior arm talent, speed, and mobility. His measurables would be even more notable if the aforementioned Malik Willis wasn't in the same draft class. Ridder checks all the boxes physically, but I believe his other attributes potentially make him special.
Ridder has been on a consistent upward trajectory his entire career, even with the ever changing collegiate landscape. He has shown marked improvement at each stage of his development, starting with his redshirt freshman season. His accuracy has improved each season, as he has cleaned up some mechanical issues.
Ridder's comprehension and confidence at the position has improved with experience, and he has shown impressive leadership qualities. He has shown a willingness to put team success ahead of individual recognition. My father used to say you can learn a lot about an individual from what they value the most, something more than themselves.
That is a possible byproduct of being a young father, as Ridder has an infant daughter, and the maturity which should accompany that esteemed responsibility. Team success doesn't happen by accident, and individual egos have to be managed for the greater good. Steady and consistent growth as a player at the most important position in football is the evidence of dedication and hard work. It also shows a level of intelligence and coachability.
Ridder will be front and center at the Cincinnati Bearcats pro day Thursday, and the Steelers hierarchy should be out in force. The Bearcats have numerous prospects who will be putting on a show, but I get the feeling Desmond Ridder will steal the spotlight.