Quarterback Wars: Ridder's Revenge


On the last edition of Quarterback Wars, we looked at the rise of Pitt QB Kenny Pickett. He went from not being talked about to possibly being the first QB taken in the 2022 NFL Draft.


In this edition of Quarterback Wars, we see the revenge of Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder. The best way to describe Ridder is "under-dog." Heading into this season, I kept hearing one consistent narrative with him and his team. I kept hearing "it won't happen." They were told they could not beat Notre Dame, they could not make the playoffs, and look what they did. Ridder is being knocked down because "he has not played anyone."


Let's see if Ridder's revenge ends with him on top or is he setting himself up for failure.


 
Stats

2021- Passing

  • 3,334 yards

  • 64.9 completion percentage

  • 30 TDs

  • 8 interceptions

2021- Rushing

  • 355 yards

  • 6 TDs

Career- Passing

  • 10,239 yards

  • 62.1 completion percentage

  • 87 TDs

  • 28 interceptions

Career- Rushing

  • 2,189 yards

  • 28 TDs

 
Scouting Overview

There is no question where Cincinnati's success came from in 2020 and 2021. Desmond Ridder needs to get a huge level of credit for the success of this program over the past two seasons. Obviously, it is a team effort, but you live and die by your QB. Ridder will enter the NFL next April as a 4-year collegiate starter, something no one else can say in this class. From day 1, he has continued to grow and improve as a QB. He is not ready to be handed the keys to an offense on day 1. He is still a few years away from being a franchise QB. Now, why would a team draft him if he is not ready? His game checks off everything an NFL team needs in a QB. He has the size, strength, experience, collegiate success, and mobility when you watch his game.


He has proven a lot of people wrong. He took a mediocre G5 team and made them into one of the game's best teams. He took them to the Sugar Bowl as an undefeated team. This past season he took that team to the College Football Playoffs. Here is when Ridder's revenge continues. He is not one of the best QBs in this class. However, he has proven time and time again that he will prove you wrong.


Ridder is not the best passer in this draft. If you want a strong arm QB, find someone else. His best trait is his mobility. You can really open the playbook with him as the QB. When he runs he looks like a running back. He is so crazy athletic and mobile. I am sure as someone read this they said "then make him a running back." Why do that when he can turn into a solid QB with the flip of a switch? It is like how quickly Palpatine converted Anakin to the dark side, it happened in the blink of an eye.


His passing game needs some improvements. He needs to work on his decision-making when throwing the ball. The skills are there. He has the arm, he has shown signs of incredible accuracy, but his decision-making is not there yet. He does not have a crazy amount of turnovers, but if he can make better decisions, he would have seen that interception number drop.


If a team is looking for their franchise QB to start day 1, then Ridder is not your guy. He is a year or two from being ready. If a team with an aging QB is looking a couple of years down the road, then Ridder is your guy. He needs time to develop. His skills are there, and I do feel he could be a franchise QB, but there are areas of improvement.

One of the best G5 QB's we have seen in a long time. Not only the G5 but all of college football. You can not deny his resume is one of the best we have ever seen!

 
Film

We talked about earlier how his mobility is what makes him such a valuable asset. Here is a great example of his pure athleticism. Yes the mechanics of being an RB are not there, but he is a QB. A QB on a revenge tour. He has the speed and quick bursts that he is able to beat the defenders and avoid many tackles.

He has shown signs of having incredible accuracy. Check out this play from the Sugar Bowl. He is able to perfectly place the ball on a long throw. NFL GMs would be flocking to a guy who can consistently make these kinds of throws.

I love his athleticism. He is one of the best overall athletes in this draft. This throw is pretty bad. He is lucky his receiver was poorly covered. However, let's not focus on the negative let's focus on the positive. His athleticism to avoid multiple tackles is incredible. I love the narrative for him "he hasn't played anyone." Here he is against Georgia looking like an elite QB with his mobility.

His biggest flaw is his decision-making. It is so incredibly poor. If it wasn't for his elite athleticism, he would not even be a top QB prospect in this draft. He makes two very glaring mistakes. He is able to avoid the first sack and he is was even able to avoid the second. He should have thrown the ball away either before or after. After he fails to throw the ball away, he trusts his arm too much, and it is an easy interception for the defense.


He needs to clean this up. Interceptions like this will not hurt a Cincy team, but this will hurt an NFL team. He needs to be okay with throwing the ball away or taking the hit. Not throwing the ball away cost his team a potential score.

 
Preferred Landing Spot

Ridder should and will not be one of the first few QB's taken in this year's draft. He has constantly progressed as a 4-year starter, but the jump from college to the NFL is a little bit too steep right now for him. I expect him to be a day 2 pick, with an expectation that he is taken early in round 2.


Ridder is going to need to play behind a veteran QB for a year or 2. My prediction is Ridder is taken 34th overall to the Detroit Lions. There is no hiding the idea that Goff is not the long-term plan in Detroit. He has shown signs of promise in his career, but he has also shown you why he is the QB for the Lions. Goff is still under contract with the Lions in 2022 and has an opt-out after the season. Yes, he could opt-out or Detroit could try and trade him. After seeing his contract, no one is trading for him.


Just picture it...Detroit takes a stud at #2 and then in the second round they can take Ridder. Goff is the starter for 2022, but come 2023 it is an open QB job. Ridder is a fighter. He will not rest easy. Ridder has a season to learn the NFL and develop his skills. He will get to work with Anthony Lynn who has a positive track record of working with QBs.


Everyone has doubted Desmond Ridder in this draft, and this is how his revenge tour will go. I do not believe at this moment he is a top 5 QB in this class. However, his experience and success are very appealing to NFL teams. Everyone seems to love to doubt this kid and what he can do. If he goes to the right system he can succeed in this league. By going to Detroit, he has an opportunity to join a young team, play behind a veteran, and he is not rushed onto the field.

 
Player Comparison- Jalen Hurts QB Philadelphia Eagles

Hear me out on this one. Jalen's best trait is how much he bailed the Eagles out of so many times with his legs. He does not necessarily have the greatest arm in the league, but it is easily something you can rely on. I really love the comparison of the mobility between Jalen Hurts and Desmond Ridder.


Look at the mobility and athleticism with Hurts. It is very similar to how Ridder handles himself when he plays.

Jalen Hurts was even on his own revenge tour. He leads Alabama to the National Championship game his freshman year, in his sophomore season he gets benched during the national championship game, sits a year, transfers to Oklahoma, drafted in the 2nd round after Tua, and now he is a top 10 QB in the NFL.


Not saying this is exactly like Ridder, but the idea that he was always an underdog seems pretty similar. Yes, Ridder was the starter from day 1, but he and his team were constantly told they were not good enough. They proved every single person wrong this season.

 
Where does he rank?

Ridder is being talked about in that top-tier group of QB's in this year's draft. However, he seems to be at the bottom of that group. There are some rankings that have him high as QB1 and some that have him as low as undrafted. As you can tell no one really has a good idea on this QB class or Desmond Ridder. For me, he comes in at QB5 for this class, pending where he lands.


If he is drafted into the right system he can stay at QB5 and easily move up that list. If he goes to the wrong team, you will see that number drop. Ridder has the tools to be a great QB. He just needs more development and time. If the right team drafts him with a veteran QB in the mix, this will give Ridder a chance to develop.


I really have high hopes for Ridder. He is also not the kind of guy that will need a long time to win over a locker room. His maturity and experience speak for themselves. Even if he goes to a team with a veteran QB, I still expect him to conduct himself as if he was the starting QB for that team.

 
Overhyping or Just Getting Started?

I am a huge G5 fan. I love the underdog story and I have loved watching Ridder and Cincinnati play this season. I really really hope he is just getting started.


All of his critiques will always say he never played anyone in college. If that is your argument let's talk about his game against Notre Dame and Alabama this past season.


Notre Dame

Ridder started off very slow. It seemed the haters were right. He was going to fold as soon as he had to play high-end talent. He was not making the throws, his decision-making was horrible, and Cincy looked flat. Ridder was able to pull off an unbelievable two-minute drill to end the first half and help the offense have a little spark. In the second half, he looked better but not great. He was able to get settled and started making the throws. His decision-making improved and so did his play. The big thing is, yes he struggled, but his success helped Cincy pull off the upset.


Alabama

The defensive line for Alabama had a great day. I lost count of how many balls they knocked down at the line of scrimmage or how many times they were able to disrupt Desmond Ridder in the pocket. He was fairly useless on the ground game and Alabama had his number the whole night in the passing game. He was able to pick up 144 yards in the air, but that was nowhere near what he needed.


Yes, when Ridder plays tougher talent he struggles. Do all QB's struggle a little against great talent? Yes, they do? However, by having a chip on his shoulder Ridder needed to stay elite when playing Notre Dame and Alabama, and he was unable to do so. The NFL is a different world and I feel we are getting close to overhyping him. I really want him to succeed not just for him but for all the underdogs in football


 
Time to Wrap it Up

I have been talking for a long time, but it is time to wrap it up. Here are the main points I hope you take from this. Desmond Ridder has the tools and the build to be an NFL QB. His experience and maturity speak for itself. If it were not for his incredible athletic ability and mobility he would not be on anyone's radar.


He needs to improve his decision-making to succeed in this league. If he does not improve it and learn, he will be out of the NFL quicker than getting into the league. The ideal scenario is he plays behind a veteran for a year or 2. He gets to learn the game and develop his skills. If he is thrown into the mix from day 1, you will just set yourself and Ridder up for failure.


 

There you have it. Ridder's Revenge. From being told he didn't have what it takes to be an NFL Draftee. Make sure you continue following along all draft season for Quarterback Wars and all the NFL Draft content you need!


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