Desmond Ridder NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Cincinnati QB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor I

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 04: Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) looks to pass during the game against the Houston Cougars and the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 4, 2021, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

HEIGHT: 6’3 3/8"
HAND: 10"
ARM: 32 3/4"

40-YARD DASH: 4.49
3-CONE: 7.15
BROAD: 10'7"


— Good height for the position.

— Very good athlete. Can consistently get to the edge and pull away from defenders when scrambling. Valid weapon on designed QB runs.

— Good arm strength. Can drive intermediate throws and attack downfield with deep balls.

— Very good movement in the pocket. Stays balanced and is willing and able to progress on concepts and work his eyes to find his throws.

— Consistently able to progress through a range of concepts. Shows a deep understanding of the offense.

— Competitive and tough player. Not afraid of the big moment and willing to take shots in the pocket or when running the football.


— Slighter frame.

— Suffers from early accuracy issues in games.

— Will often try to do too much but did show improvement in this area.


14 G, 251-387 (64.9%), 3,334 YDS, 8.6 Y/A, 30 TD, 8 INT, 158.7 RTG, 110 ATT, 355 YDS (3.2 AVG), 6 TD


— 2021 AAC Offensive Player of the Year

— 2020 AAC Offensive Player of the Year

— 2021 first team All-AAC

— 2020 first team All-AAC

— 2018 AAC Rookie of the Year


Ridder is a quarterback with good height but a slighter frame who is a very good athlete at the position. He consistently displays polished footwork and pocket movement that allows him to play with balance. Even though he is a plus athlete with very good speed who is a weapon on designed quarterback runs, Ridder prefers to do his damage from the pocket.

Ridder also shows an advanced pre-snap operation, adjusting protections and moving his teammates around as needed in a calm manner. His processing also shows up when progressing on passing concepts. He keeps his eyes downfield and shows the ability to truly get through multiple read plays. When paired with his very good pocket movement, he is able to get to the correct throw on a variety of different passing plays.

Ridder has the arm strength to be able to drive intermediate throws and is able to throw off-platform when needed. He flashes the ability to throw a catchable deep ball but sometimes can try to be too perfect with his ball placement, so deep throws will end up a bit short because he has tried to “aim” them. Ridder’s processing also allows him to make throws with anticipation, letting him beat defenders before they have a chance to make plays on the throw and giving his receivers room to work. He can have some sprayed throws early in games, but he settles in as the game goes along and can have flashes of very good accuracy at all three levels.

Overall, Ridder is a competitive player who showed a leap in improvement throughout the 2021 season. He’s athletic but doesn’t just rely on his legs to make plays happen and constantly showed an advanced understanding of Cincinnati’s offense with his pre- and post-snap operation. His ability to operate from the pocket with his polished movement and balance, while still maintaining the athleticism to create plays when things break down, is a fun package.

Ridder is able to operate on time and has the arm strength to drive throws and balls to the field, which allows him to attack all areas of the defense. His main blemish is some inaccurate throws at the beginning of games when he seems to be too amped up. But he settles in as the game goes along and is a player who steps up in big moments. Ridder shows enough advanced play that he can start for an NFL team as a rookie. He’s not a perfect prospect and might take some knocks early as he steps up a level in competition.

But considering the improvement he showed his senior season and with still enough upside left to tap into, he has a path toward being a Pro Bowl-caliber player at the position if he gets in the right situation and can continue to work on his consistency.

GRADE: 8.4 (Year 1 Starter - Late 1st-2nd Round)