Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) drops back to pass in the second quarter during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia Bulldogs Vs Cincinnati Bearcats Chick Fil A Peach Bowl 2020 Jan 1 2021

It took a long time for the first quarterback to be taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. The wait was even longer for the second signal-caller to go off the board.

Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett was the 20th overall selection, the latest first quarterback selected in 25 years. No quarterback was taken for the remainder of the first round and surprisingly, none heard their name called in the second round. Finally, with the 10th pick of the fourth round and 74th overall selection, the Atlanta Falcons chose Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder.

NFL fans had a strong — generally positive — reaction to the selection.

Ridder completed 62.4% of his passes for Cincinnati during the 2021 season. He threw for 2,445 yards with 20 touchdowns, five interceptions, and a 146.4 passer rating (101.56 with the NFL formula). He was also a force in the running game, rushing for 355 yards with six touchdowns. The Bearcats also went undefeated during the regular season and reached the College Football Playoff, where they lost to Alabama 27-6 in the semifinals.

While third-round quarterbacks are often project picks, Ridder should have the opportunity to compete for a spot immediately. The Falcons traded longtime quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. Prior to drafting Ridder, Atlanta’s quarterbacks were Marcus Mariota and Feleipe Franks.

Expect Mariota to head into training camp as the starting quarterback. But if Ridder plays well there, it won’t be long before he’s under center in Atlanta.

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