Rookie Profile – Desmond Ridder

Desmond Ridder - QB - Cincinnati

Welcome to the rookie profile for Desmond Ridder. Ridder is a dual-threat quarterback who has physical attributes in abundance combined with excellent mobility, good arm strength, and speed. Throughout the past season, he has shown a tremendous leap in his gameplay, leading Cincinnati to one of their most successful seasons. Whilst he is perhaps not the complete article yet, he’s still a great prospect that could be a potential starter in the NFL with patience. He will need to land on the right roster who will unleash a playbook to suit his skill set.

Measurables

Height: 6′ 3″

Weight: 211 lbs

Age: 23

40-yard dash: 4.49s

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: 36″

Broad Jump: 127″

Bench Press: DNP

College Stats

Notable Headlines

Out of high school Ridder was a three-star recruit and didn’t attract much interest from college programs as he received just two offers: Eastern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Ridder opted for Cincinnati and nailed down the starting quarterback job in his freshman year. He put together some impressive stats as he threw for 2,445 yards and 20 reception touchdowns, while on the ground Ridder had 149 rush attempts for 583 yards and 5 touchdowns. This led him to be named the AAC Rookie of the Year.

Ridder’s exceptional start to proceedings as a freshman set the bar high and in his second season, he didn’t quite build on this momentum, completing a less than impressive 55.1% of attempted passes. He threw for 2,164 yards and 18 touchdowns whilst throwing 9 interceptions. He did, however, show more effectiveness in the running game as he had 144 attempts for 650 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns.

In 2020, Ridder hit the heavy heights we had seen in his freshman year as he returned to the form we expected, leading the Cincinnati Bearcats to a 9-1 record. In the shortened COVID season he threw for 2,296 yards and 19 touchdowns whilst throwing 6 interceptions. Ridder continued to show his dual-threat abilities as he rushed for 592 yards on 98 attempts, finding the end zone 12 times. This led to him being named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year and he also received First Team All-AAC honors

Ridder opted to return for his junior year this past season due to being perceived as a fifth, potentially sixth-round talent in last year’s draft. After one of the most successful years in the Cincinnati Bearcats football program, Ridder stated that he had ‘unfinished business’ to attend to. It’s safe to say that they reached a whole new level in this past season as they finished with a 13-1 record, losing out in the CFP Semi-Final to Alabama.

The success of the Bearcats’ 2021 season was replicated on Ridder’s stat sheet as he threw for 3,334 yards and 30 touchdowns with a 64.9% pass completion rate. He once again showed the Nation his dual-threat credentials as he rushed 110 times for 355 yards and scored 6 touchdowns. He even got involved in the receiving game as he hauled in two targets for eight yards and a touchdown. He was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year and received First-team All-AAC honors, both for the second consecutive year.

Scouting Report

Positives

Ridder’s excellent mobility is by far his best trait and is a contributing factor as to why he is viewed as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the class. He is a terrific runner of the ball combined with his great vision and ability to shed tackles make him a constant threat to defenses and will keep them on their toes. Whether he is on the run or looking to escape out of the pocket, his speed and burst of pace allow him to escape from rushers and get out of trouble.

Ridder has an absolute monster of an arm. He has an impressive, quick release and a great, natural ability to get the ball out to his receivers in a split second. He throws with true velocity, and it will zip past defenders’ ears, leaving a ringing noise. His short-throw completion rate is good, and he will look to throw the ball where his receivers need rather than directly at them to help them find leverage easier against defenses. More than capable due to his arm throwing velocity to throw through tight windows up to 20 yards downfield.

The part of his game however that I am the biggest fan of (and NFL coaches will be too) is his ability to throw on the run, an element of his game that will make Ridder one of the most highly sought-after quarterbacks in the draft. If Ridder is outside of the pocket, he is able to test defenses as they don’t know whether he will use his feet and go for it or look to shift the ball whilst he’s on the run.

Negatives

Ridder’s accuracy can be a little ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ for my liking; he tends to overthrow the ball into the open field and is inconsistent at best. To put it simply, this is something that NFL coaches will not be keen on at all as an opposing defense will simply drop safeties back into deep coverage to capitalize on a glaring weakness. All too often you will see him make a killer pass one minute and the next play he’s making mistakes such as missing receivers on simple short passes. Very frustrating but something that can be coached by NFL staff.

A good athlete but is a little complacent when trying to escape the pocket and will get sacked all too often, with the regular loss of yards leaving Ridder under pressure to make up extra yardage and more prone to turnovers. He also piles up more pressure on himself for being a notoriously slow starter to games, frustrating as he often has to play catch-up and heat up as the games go on.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 2

Landing Spots

I think that the accuracy issues in Ridder’s game will see him drop into the second round of the draft. A team that would be a good fit and will be willing to take a chance on him is the Detroit Lions.

The profile of Ridder will be appealing to the Lions as he stands at 6’4, is an experienced four-year starter throughout his collegiate career, has good arm strength, is an excellent runner, and has good leadership qualities after finishing his Cincinnati career with a 44-6 record. Improving a lot especially over the past two years.

Jared Goff has done an okay job for the Lions I guess. But the Lions’ hands are tied with Goff as they have over $30 million tied up in dead cap space. Although, with Ridder, they could use him as a gadget-style Quarterback next season and ease him into the NFL landscape whilst coaching out his bad habits. This would be a great fit for all involved, as the Lions would have a Dual-Quarterback with a massive ceiling and Ridder has a team where he will more than likely become the starter – in a similar way to how the Chicago Bears managed Justin Fields.

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Image Credit: Brett Davis – USA TODAY Sports