NBC Sports’ Chris Simms has begun releasing his list of the top 40 quarterbacks in the NFL. In fact, he kicked it off with Atlanta Falcons signal caller Desmond Ridder.
Obviously, Ridder wasn’t No. 1 on the list. Simms began his countdown of his top quarterbacks backwards, and the 23-year-old came in dead last.
It’s not surprising that Ridder is ranked lowly on Simms’ list. The 23-year-old completed 63.5% of his passes for two touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per attempt in four starts at the end of the 2022 season.
But dead last?
Ridder is behind three rookie signal callers (Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson) and fellow 2022 rookie Sam Howell, who made just one start last season. Howell went 11 for 19 for 169 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Simms ranked journeyman quarterbacks Mike White, Gardnew Minshew and Jarrett Stidham ahead of Ridder as well. Interestingly, Simms would argue the Falcons are better off starting veteran backup Taylor Heinicke.
Simms placed Heinicke at No. 33 on his top 40 quarterbacks list.
The rest of Simms’ list has yet to be released. But placing Ridder at No. 40 is essentially the NBC analyst’s way to saying that not only will he be the worst starter behind center to begin the season, there will be more than a handful of backups even better.
While the 23-year-old didn’t light up the scoreboard in his four starts last season, he also didn’t stink. He led the Falcons to a 2-2 mark and didn’t throw an interception in 115 passing attempts.
It’s more than fair to question whether Ridder will turn into a franchise quarterback. But one could also argue Ridder demands a little more respect because of his play from 2022 and college career than what Simms has given him.