Coaches who have reportedly been around former University of Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder reportedly have high hopes for him as he makes his transition to the NFL.
In his first 2022 NFL mock draft released Friday, NFL Network insider Peter Schrager wrote that college coaches, the New York Jets coaches who worked with Ridder at the Senior Bowl, and coaches who have spent time with Ridder believe he possesses the "it" factor NFL teams want in a quarterback.
Schrager projected that Ridder will go No. 32 overall to the Detroit Lions, making him the fourth quarterback off the board in the first round behind Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett, Liberty's Malik Willis and Ole Miss' Matt Corral.
Ridder seemingly had the makings of a Day 2 prospect more than a first-rounder when the draft process started, but he performed well at his pro day and was the most athletically impressive quarterback at the NFL Scouting Combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds.
Additionally, Ridder has a far more extensive resume of success collegiately than any of the other top quarterbacks in the draft.
Ridder is third in FBS history with 44 career wins as a starting quarterback, and last season he became the first quarterback to lead a non-Power 5 team—excluding independent Notre Dame—to the College Football Playoff.
The 6'3" signal-caller put up monstrous numbers last season as well, completing 64.9 percent of his passes for 3,334 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while also rushing for 355 yards and six scores.
Ridder finished a solid eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting, capping one of the greatest seasons ever by a Bearcats player.
There are a few NFL teams who may still be in need of an immediate starting quarterback, and there are several more who would benefit from a developmental player at the position.
The Lions can be placed in either category, but if they take Ridder 32nd overall, it seems likely that he would sit and learn behind former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff for at least part of the 2022 season.
Detroit acquired Goff last offseason as part of the trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams, and Goff performed nowhere close to the level that saw him earn back-to-back Pro Bowl nods in 2017 and 2018.
The 27-year-old veteran went 3-10-1 as a starter last season and completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 3,245 yards, 19 touchdowns and eight picks.
Goff is fine as a temporary caretaker of the Detroit offense, but it seems obvious that a long-term answer is needed, and Ridder could be that guy if he's still on the board at the end of the first.