The 2022 NFL Draft begins on Thursday April 28th. One name that is expected to be called during the first round is Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder.
As a Cincinnati alum, and long-time supporter of Ridder, I want the quarterback to be best positioned for success from the start. I took a look at all of the teams who could potentially draft Ridder in the first or second round, and assess the pros and cons of each destination.
Pros – None
Cons – Washington is one of the worst franchises in professional sports. They are under federal investigation for multiple allegations – one involving sexual harassment, another involving potentially withholding revenue money from the league.
Pros – TE Kyle Pitts, 2021 #4 pick, is an exciting offensive weapon for any quarterback. And Cordarrelle Patterson is coming off career highs in rushing yards (618) and receiving yards (548).
Cons – Atlanta does not have much outside of Pitts and Patterson, the latter of whom is a 31-year old journeymen with experience playing both WR and RB, with a small history of sustained success.
Currently, the Falcons starting WRs are Olamide Zaccheaus, Damiere Byrd and Auden Tate. The defense has holes and the coaching staff is unproven. Plus there’s jokes to be made about 28-3 and a Peach Bowl loss that happened in Atlanta’s stadium. Pass…
Pros – Panthers have Sam Darnold atop their depth chart, meaning Carolina offers Ridder the chance to play right away. And he can play with WR DJ Moore and RB Christian McCaffery almost had a year where he had 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving.
Cons – Unfortunately, that exciting aforementioned year for McCaffery was 3 years ago, and over the last 2 seasons he has played only 10 out of 33 games. Matt Rhule may be fired at the end of 2022, and there’s no guarantee a new head coach likes Ridder.
Pros – Fans can watch Ridder play on Thanksgiving every year.
Cons – Fans will likely watch Ridder get blown out on Thanksgiving every year.
Pros – Head coach Frank Reich is a former NFL QB and knows how to coach offense, plus RB Jonathan Taylor is one of the top 2-3 backs in all of football.
Cons – 5 QBs in the last 5 seasons does not sound like a stable franchise.
Pros – WRs DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and RBs Chris Carson, and Rashad Penny are as strong of an offensive nucleus as there gets for a potential rookie QB.
Cons – Given the absurd money given out to WRs this off-season, will Metcalf be in Seattle long term? Plus, Pete Carroll is 70 years old. Despite a strong track record of success over the past decade, how much longer will he be in Seattle?
New Orleans Saints
Pros – There is a major opportunity here to make his presence known in the NFC South. Falcons and Panthers may be two of the worst teams in the NFL and Bucs will eventually need to retool once, or if, Brady ever retires. Could Ridder become the best QB in the division in the next 3-4 years? Looking at the current depth charts, it’s not impossible to see. Saints have as passionate a fan base as anyone in the NFL, so fans are likely to rally around Ridder if he shows early flashes of success.
Cons – Saints kept continuity with coaching staff, but no more Sean Payton. How much will he be missed? Plus, there’s WR Michael Thomas. In 2019, Thomas caught 149 passes for 1,725 yards, but since than, he has played just 7 games (0 in 2021) and caught 40 passes.
Pros – Pittsburgh is a place Ridder can thrive. For one, Mike Tomlin is one of the top head coaches in the NFL. In 15 seasons as Steelers head coach, he has never had a losing season and has led his team to the playoffs 10 times, including one Super Bowl Championship. Their roster includes 2021 Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt, and on offense they have second-year RB Najee Harris and WRs Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.
Cons – Many Bearcats fans, double as Bengals fans so the opposition to this pick is obvious. Additionally, Ridder may get lost in the shuffle sharing a division with Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson.
Honorable mention – Tennessee Titans
Note – After finishing with the AFC’s best record in 2021, it’s unlikely the Titans use their first round pick on a QB, and first round is where Ridder is trending to go. Ryan Tannehill has 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in his last two playoff games (Titans went one-and-done in both 2021 and 2022). He will be 34 years old when the 2022 season kicks off and it might be time to consider the future for 2023 and beyond.
Pros – Derrick Henry, AJ Brown, Robert Woods and head coach Mike Vrabel. The coach is very good friends with Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell. The two played linebacker together at Ohio State and played big roles at each other’s weddings. Could Vrabel be picking his friend’s brain a bit?
In Tennessee, Ridder can sit a year, learn behind a solid vet and take over a playoff-ready team in 2023, in a division that includes Jaguars and Texans and a Colts team that still has no long term answer at QB.
Cons – If Tannehill has renewed success, Ridder could be on the bench for a while. Henry missed significant time due to injury in 2021, what if that continues? And AJ Brown’s contract issues (similar to DK Metcalf) may force Tennessee’s hand, sooner than later.