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Desmond Ridder in ‘Compelling Spot’ as Falcons QB: Analyst

There’s a growing consensus around the Atlanta Falcons. The team has some very talented offensive weapons and an improving defense. But the giant question mark of quarterback Desmond Ridder could hold back the Falcons.

CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso, though, looked at it the other way around, as he ranked Ridder third among the second-year quarterbacks ready to make a leap in Year 2.

Trapasso argued the Falcons are ready to get the most out of Ridder because of the rest of the team.

“Ridder’s in a compelling spot. He was a third-round pick, didn’t really flash as a rookie and plays for a run-oriented head coach,” Trapasso wrote. “Then again, the Falcons personnel department has drafted an offensive skill-position player inside the top 10 in each of the past three drafts. Bananas. 

“Atlanta also quietly boasts one of the NFL’s most reliable offensive lines. Ridder has a fair amount of arm talent and tested like a supreme athlete at the quarterback spot at the 2022 combine. With Bijan Robinson and Co. in the backfield, it’s hard to envision Ridder getting the opportunity to throw it 30-plus times very often.”

Trapasso added that Ridder is “positioned well to piece together an ultra-efficient game-manager type” role this season. The CBS Sports analyst also claimed that Ridder could be Ryan Tannehill 2.0 for Falcons head coach Arthur Smith.

The only signal callers ranked ahead of Ridder on Trapasso’s list of second-year quarterbacks ready to take a leap in Year 2 were Kenny Pickett and Brock Purdy.

Trapasso placed the five second-year quarterbacks on his list into different tiers. Ridder was in the “Don’t Be Shocked” if improvement comes tier. That ranked the Falcons signal caller ahead of Sam Howell and Malik Willis.

Third out of five isn’t necessarily great, but fellow 2022 third-round pick Matt Corral didn’t even make Trapasso’s list.

Bailey Zappe and Skylar Thompson weren’t on the list either. Like Ridder, Zappe and Thompson each started fewer than a handful of games in 2022.

Maximizing a quarterback’s talent would be a breathe of fresh air in Atlanta. One could argue that hasn’t happened for the Falcons since 2016.

That season, Matt Ryan won NFL MVP.