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2022 NFL Draft Profile: Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder

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Player Profile

Recruiting Profile: Click Here

Position: QB

Height: 6-4

Weight: 215

Year: SR

Jersey Number: 9

Offensive Scheme: Spread/RPO, hybrid offense, that blends play-action and a moving pocket.

Offensive Coordinator: Gino Guidugli

Games Reviewed: 2021 Georgia (Peach Bowl), 2021 Alabama (CFP) 2021 Notre Dame, 2019 Ohio State, 2021 Indiana

Position Specific Critical Factors

Arm Talent: (7) Very Good

The QB position requires good accuracy at all levels of the field. The QB prospect must have control of the football to place the ball in tight windows and with the appropriate leverage on his throws. Ball placement is paramount when the targeted receiver is not open in the NFL. The ability to throw a receiver open (anticipatory throwing) can separate a good prospect from an elite prospect. The ability throws that are catchable and with good placement is paramount. A prospect's overall arm strength combined with the ability to change speeds based on throwing distance and situation is critical. The prospect's arm angles and ability to make difficult throws while off-platform or on the move are vital indicators of a QB's overall arm talent.

Decision Making/Awareness: (6) Very Good

The ability to make smart decisions on the field, with good judgment, and poise in the pocket, is fundamental at the highest level of football. Possessing the ability to process quickly on the fly can separate a prospect from being good or elite. The prospect's intelligence, field vision, understanding of coverage, and reading defenses are all critical. The prospect's ability to not break down as pressure builds is a key factor. Possessing the ability to recognize pre-snap and post-snap coverage is another trait that is paramount.

Big Moments/Clutch: (6) Very Good

Late game, tight game, playing from behind while under pressure; does the prospect rise to the occasion in the close games against better competition? Can the prospect deliver big-time plays under pressure in critical situations? Is the QB composed and focused in key moments?

Key Strengths

  • Arm Talent

  • Mobility

  • Protects The Football

Key Weaknesses

  • Accuracy

  • Decision Making

  • Progressions

Pass Game Summary

Desmond Ridder displays inconsistent accuracy as a passer, but there are moments you can see his arm talent shine through. Teams will pressure Ridder to get him off his spot to force inaccurate throws. When teams are not applying pressure, Ridder does a good job of staying in the pocket and using his height and solid field vision to identify open targets and make an accurate throw. His most significant area for improvement as he moves into the NFL is his ball placement and anticipatory throws. Placing the football in front of his intended receiver or before they make their break, allowing them to maximize yards after the catch.

Ridder does not put the football in harm's way very often. Still, he has moments where his coverage recognition and decision-making can lapse, which is another critical area he must improve in as a passer in the NFL. Ridder does display good poise under pressure, but there are moments where he might be better off relying on his athleticism to extend a play instead of hanging in the pocket. Regardless, he is consistently keeping his eyes up and down the field, looking to make a throw rather than relying on his legs to bail him out.

Desmond Ridder has improved as a passer in his four years at UC. His mechanics, release, and overall arm talent is the area I am keeping an eye on with Ridder. He has a strong arm, and the ball jumps out of his hand. At the 2021 Senior Bowl, Ridder recorded an initial ball speed of 74 MPH, which was second to Liberty QB Malik Willis, who registered a 75 MPH initial ball speed. He can make some fantastic throws at all levels and deploy different arm angles and make off-platform throws which are vital traits that NFL scouts and GM's are looking at when evaluating the QB position.

Run Game Summary

As a runner, Ridder is what I call a conflict player that pressures all 11 defenders. His dual-threat running ability allows a coach to open up his playbook and get creative. He can operate using the zone read and RPO concepts. He can extend a drive with his legs in critical 3rd down moments.

Final Analysis

Desmond Ridder is a player that certainly possesses some key characteristics that you are looking for in an NFL-level QB. He has improved in multiple areas as a passer while at Cincinnati, and he is a proven winner. His leadership is also a valuable trait that can help him move forward into the NFL. He possesses good NFL size at 6-4, 215 lbs. I liken him to a poor man, Trevor Lawrence, in terms of size and athleticism. He has arm talent; he just needs to clean up his accuracy and decision-making.

Overall, I think if he lands in a spot where he can sit for a season or two behind an established NFL starter, he can develop into an NFL-level starter. Ridder's best fit will be in a run-first offense that uses a lot of play-action and roll-out style plays that can get him out on the edge of the defense.

Final Grade Analysis

Final Grade: (6.1) (Role Player Potential)

(6.1) High-Level Backup/Developmental Starter Traits

Ceiling Grade: (6.8) High Upside Potential

(9.0-7.0) Solid Starter Level

Floor Grade: (5.9) (Role Player Potential)

(5.9) Career Backup Level


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