Desmond Ridder is a four-year starter in Cincinnati, amassing a pile of individual school passing records while he was at it. However, it wasn’t until 2021 that Ridder looked like the game was slowing down for him. His coaches spoke about his ability to pull things together when the game doesn’t start right, something that came on this year after Ridder became a father. He entered Cincinnati as a 178-pound freshman in 2017 and transformed into a professionally built quarterback.

The Measureables

Desmond Ridder

QB – #9 Cincinnati

HT: 6036
WT: 215
WING: 7848
ARM: 3258
HAND: 958
DOB: 8/31/1999

Year: Redshirt Senior
High School: St. Xavier (Louisville, KY)
HS Rating: 3 star (0.8180)
Phil Steele: PS#114

Desmond Ridder Scouting Report

Arm strength stands out on tape almost immediately. Has a good arm. Pushes the ball downfield with more than ample velocity. Good strength to really stretch the field. Shows the ability to throw with touch in the moments that he needs to. Very compact release motion. Ridder doesn’t waste a lot of movement. Accuracy is a big concern for Ridder. Very much a box-accurate quarterback. Very inconsistent with his placement. I’m not sure what mechanical issue is driving that other than he just doesn’t have the ability. Placement is very inconsistent and very much off. Struggles when under pressure.

Ridder positions himself fairly well in the pocket. Moves to space and doesn’t take many sacks from poor positioning. I don’t think Ridder uses the pocket very well. He would much rather roll out and make something happen outside, relying on his athleticism. Once the pressure gets there, I’d like to consistently see him get away from pass rushers. Not the most consistent footwork, but he does consistently angle himself to the throw. Very quick feet. Sets rapidly. Ridder is very athletic and moves well outside of the pocket. That being said, Ridder generally doesn’t throw well while on the move. Dangerous runner when moving downfield.

Has a special improv ability to work with his teammates and find them when the play is out of the structure. Ridder does what he can to keep the play alive, but isn’t particularly adept at working the play out of the structure. Flashes some very intelligent reads, finding the holes in the defense. Generally makes good pre-snap reads. Oftentimes pre-determines the throw during the pre-snap. That will be a problem at the next level.

What we want to see from Desmond Ridder in Mobile

  • Accuracy and placement. Desmond Ridder has great tools – the arm, the mobile ability, speed and athleticism… However, Ridder’s biggest weakness is his inconsistent accuracy and placement. He’s flashed the ability to hit at times on big plays but doesn’t always do it. A lot of that, I believe, has to do with his lower body mechanics. We’d like to see him start to clean that up in Mobile and look for him to make strides moving forward.

Pre-Senior Bowl projection

Desmond Ridder projects best as a non-traditional playmaker at quarterback that an offense would have to be designed to cater to his talents, much to the mold of the Baltimore Ravens around Lamar Jackson and the Philadelphia Eagles around Jalen Hurts.

Ridder is a developmental guy who could start the year as a backup and ideally remain there his rookie season. If he was being drafted, the hope would be to start him next season unless he shows tremendous improvement in his footwork and lower body mechanics. Accuracy is very difficult to hone down and improve. It’s rare when it happens.

We like Desmond Ridder as a second/third-round pick right now with the potential to sneak into the late first-round if he has a solid Senior Bowl week. His moxie and passion for the game are undeniable. The question is whether he is a strong enough passer for the next level.

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

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