2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Fantasy Football Rookie Analysis

2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: QB Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati


Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder enters the 2022 NFL Draft after accumulating considerable experience as a redshirt senior. There’s a strong argument to be made in favor of him being the most NFL-ready incoming rookie with 40 appearances under his belt.

Height: 6-foot-3 3/8
Weight: 211 pounds
40 time: 4.53 seconds

Following a 2017 redshirt season, the Louisville native emerged as starting quarterback for Cincinnati and acquitted himself well. He suffered a bit of a setback as a sophomore that was quickly forgotten over the next two campaigns.

In 2020, Ridder’s game went to a new level, stepping up in accuracy and as a rushing threat. Last year, he backed it all up and improved as a passer, earning American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.

Table: Desmond Ridder NCAA stats (2018-21)

Year Team Passing Rushing
Comp Att Comp% Yards YPA TD INT Att Yards Avg TD LNG
2018* CIN 194 311 62.4 2,445 8 20 5 150 572 3.8 5 41
2019* CIN 179 325 55.1 2,164 7 18 9 144 650 4.5 5 49
2020* CIN 186 281 66.2 2,296 8 19 6 98 592 6.0 12 91
2021* CIN 251 387 64.9 3,334 9 30 8 110 355 3.2 6 40

*includes postseason/bowl games

Ridder now owns Cincinnati’s all-time records for passing touchdowns (87) and total yardage (12,418).


  • Team-first, hard-working leader — has a reputation for being humble and dedicated to his craft
  • Sound mechanics and throwing platform
  • Showed improvement his final two years
  • Strong pocket presence and awareness — side steps, climbs the pocket with eyes downfield
  • Athletic enough to warrant scripted read-options, quarterback draws and sweeps
  • Despite mobility, looks to throw first
  • Enough arm to push the ball down the field — multiple all-air, 50-plus-yard throws to his credit
  • Does a good job of looking off the safety and surveying the field when necessary
  • Extremely experienced as a four-year starter with as many winning seasons


  • While his accuracy numbers, outside of 2019, have been strong enough, but ball placement is a concern
  • Tons of batted passes at the line of scrimmage — needs to improve vision and anticipation of throwing lanes
  • Slightly delayed windup, which is being picky
  • Not going to wow anyone with his deep-ball arm strength or intermediate zip
  • Hard to find more than two progressions on film — often the first read was open, making his ability to quickly dissect a defense somewhat in question
  • Occasionally gets himself into trouble trying to escape or buy time

Fantasy football outlook

Ridder’s true fantasy worth obviously cannot be known until he has a landing spot, but the projected career path looks like it will go one of two ways: Either he’s a multiyear, above-average starter or a career backup.

It seems as if there will be little wiggle room for anything else, regardless of where he plays. There’s little, if any, upside for an elite career. In an ideal situation, he plays for a West Coast offense with a strong running game. Ridder’s maturity, experience, and mobility make him an interesting option for a team that won’t ask him to be surgically accurate or drive the ball into traffic. He’ll make a superb glorified game manager.

If that doesn’t pan out, there’s a lengthy career path ahead for a reliable backup option. System fit will be key for Ridder’s maximization. He shouldn’t need too much time to get up to speed in the pros. Looking around the league, it’s unlikely he finds a Week 1 starting job scenario, so some of the teams with quarterbacks in “prove it” situations or aging veterans on effectively annual contracts make the most sense.

Ridder’s mobility and football IQ — not his arm talent — will make him a starting-tier fantasy consider if he’s drafted to the right team.


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