Jameis Winston. Russell Wilson. Matt Corral. Teddy Bridgewater.
The New Orleans Saints are constantly linked to various quarterbacks - rookies and veterans alike - when discussions come up about the 2022 offseason. Now, the good folks at Pro Football Focus want to throw another name into the hat for consideration in their recent mock draft: Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder.
In an interview on Tailgate last week, analyst Nate Tice made his case for why Cincinnati signal-caller Desmond Ridder should be the first quarterback taken in April’s draft. Ridder turned in a career year in the Bearcats’ playoff run in 2021, finishing the season with a 90.7 PFF grade. He had never cleared 80.0 in any season prior.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder possesses excellent mobility and above-average arm talent for the position, but he is coveted for much more beyond his physical tools. He’s proven to be a quick processor with experience operating an offense while consistently working through his progressions, rarely relying on just his first read.
Breaking from tradition, PFF did not have Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett as the first quarterback off the board. That honor went to North Carolina’s Sam Howell to the Denver Broncos with the 9th overall pick. Ole Miss QB Matt Corral went two spots later to Washington Football Team. In fact, Pickett was still on the board by the time the New Orleans Saints were on the clock in PFF’s mock draft, getting drafted 20th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Would the New Orleans Saints actually pass on drafting Pickett 18th overall if he were available? If they did, would they actually draft a different quarterback like Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder? Watching highlights of Ridder in college, it’s hard to like what you see.
The Saints have plenty of issues they will need to address this offseason, starting with the quarterback. We’ve seen how teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, and Cincinnati Bengals can turn their franchises around with a franchise quarterback on a rookie deal.
Maybe Ridder would be the answer for New Orleans. We’ll have to wait and see.
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