Despite all of the varied opinions surrounding players in the NFL Draft, there were two things near-unanimously agreed upon in regard to Atlanta Falcons third-round draft pick Desmond Ridder: he's athletic and has high-end intangibles, with his teammates and coaches at Cincinnati saying nothing but good things about him.
Ridder's 40-yard dash proved both, as he led all quarterbacks at the combine with a time of 4.52, a number that was celebrated by his former Bearcat teammates.
With an impressive 44-6 record as the starter at Cincinnati, Ridder closed his college career as the third-winningest quarterback in NCAA history. The Bearcats managed just 8 wins in the two years before Ridder took over the starting job, a number he smashed in his first season, as Cincinnati went 11-2.
Ridder's made similar impressions on teammates, coaches and executives early in Atlanta. Since the Falcons drafted Ridder in the third round of April's draft, there's been nothing but praise thrown his way from those inside the organization.
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Atlanta's fifth-round pick, running back Tyler Allgeier, dubbed Ridder "a genius" due to how quickly he mastered the playbook. Falcons assistant director of college scouting Dwaune Jones said the franchise "fell in love" with Ridder as a person. His intangibles were arguably the best in his draft class, and his work in pre-draft meetings largely impressed teams.
During OTAs, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith stated that Ridder is "light years ahead of most young quarterbacks from the neck up." Smith also listed Ridder as one of the players who impressed him the most during the final phase of offseason practices before training camp.
Ridder is off to an impressive start, at least to those who've been around him. Considering how much his college teammates seem to care about him, this is far from a ground-breaking development.