The Atlanta Falcons added a lot of potential to their team during last month's NFL Draft. Some experts have ranked the Falcons draft among some of the best in the league, but one talent evaluator handed the Falcons one of the best compliments possible.
Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, a longtime NFL scout says that the Falcons draft class could be a "home run" if Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder is who we think he is.
Ridder, who the Falcons took with the 74th overall pick during the draft, will be competing for the starting quarterback job this offseason alongside Marcus Mariota.
With an impressive 44-6 record as the starter at Cincinnati, Ridder closed his college career as the third-winningest quarterback in NCAA history. And then there is the the kind of person and leader Ridder is.
His intangibles were arguably the best in his draft class, and his work in pre-draft meetings largely impressed teams. On the football field, Ridder is an athletic (4.49 40-yard dash), intelligent, strong-armed passer who has total control of the offense.
The biggest knock on Ridder coming out of Cincinnati was his accuracy. While that’s difficult to substantially improve on, if he can reach a point where it’s manageable, he’ll be just fine.
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Perhaps the biggest thing working in Ridder’s favor is his confidence. After getting the draft-day call from Fontenot, Ridder said, “They done f'ed up, I ain't even gonna lie. It shouldn't have taken this long." The 22-year-old rookie will enter the NFL with a chip on his shoulder and the work ethic to match it.
Because of his physical tools and intangibles, Ridder has the raw talent needed to become a starter in the league. His competitiveness and motivation will give him a fair shot of developing that talent into a legitimate player at the next level.
Whether or not he's the Falcons’ long-term answer at quarterback remains to be seen, but is clear Ridder will do everything humanly possible to reach his ceiling. With this talent and drive, it's easy to see why the Falcons took a chance, especially in the third round.
He appears to be a “face of the franchise” player. His on-field style is an ideal fit for what Smith wants to do offensively.
Now, it’s up to Ridder to prove that his post-pick assertions were true, and that the Falcons hit a home run by choosing him.