Atlanta Falcons: Breer pinpoints when he thinks Desmond Ridder could become starting QB

Desmond Ridder at the NFL Scouting combine

NFL reporter Albert Breer has given his thoughts on when he imagines Desmond Ridder will become the starter for the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons are very much in rebuild mode right now, best demonstrated by their decision to trade away Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts this past summer, the man who had been their franchise quarterback ever since they drafted him with the 3rd pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

This past offseason they looked to address both the short and long-term future of the position through both free agency and the draft, bringing in veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota to take on the immediate duties, then taking Desmond Ridder with the #74 pick in April’s draft.

They do also have Feleipe Franks left over from last season, but with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith stating that Mariota would begin this offseason as the starter and with Ridder looking to develop, Franks will take the #3 spot on the depth chart.

A calculated risk for the Falcons?

The 2022 draft class was not exactly ‘stacked’ when it came to quarterback talent, which is best demonstrated by how long it took for a number of them to come off the board, with only one taken in the first round, but when it comes to college production, Ridder could claim that he managed to hold his own.

He put up more than 10,000 yards during his time at the University of Cincinnati as a four-year starter to go along with 87 touchdowns, with his performances enough to thrust the Bearcats into the College Football Playoff in 2021 as he also finished 8th in Heisman Trophy standings: 

But with a third-round pick, there isn’t the same pressure on him to perform and deliver straight away as there would be on a first-rounder, so they can afford to take their time with him, and Breer has predicted when that time might come for them to unleash him onto the league. 

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A slow-burning candle?

Writing in his mailbag column for SI.com on when he expects a number of rookie quarterbacks to become starters for their side, Breer believes that it will not be a case of ‘sooner rather than later’ and that Falcons fans might have to wait some time before he comes through: 

“I think there’s a solid chance that two out of a group of three (Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, Desmond Ridder) will be in there by then…

“With Ridder, I do think that, one way or another, late in the year, the Falcons will want to see what they have in the third-round pick to start planning forward towards 2023.

“So give me Ridder as a starter at the end of the year, and either Pickett or Corral”. 


So don’t expect to see Ridder having to wait for three or so years like Aaron Rodgers had to for the Green Bay Packers, the only question is going to be whether or not he’ll have learnt enough in the time between now and then to become a capable starter in the league, until then the Falcons will just have to hope that Mariota can keep them competitive.

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