2022 NFL Draft Rumors: 'Considerable Buzz' Desmond Ridder Will Be Picked in Top 15April 8, 2022
The idea of Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder getting taken in the 2022 NFL draft's top 15 picks is reportedly picking up steam.
According to ESPN's Matt Miller, there is "legitimate buzz" that Ridder could be a top-15 pick after it initially looked like he would be a Day 2 selection early in the draft process.
Ridder is seemingly one of four quarterbacks with a strong chance to go in the first round of the draft later this month, along with Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett, Liberty's Malik Willis and Ole Miss' Matt Corral.
Miller provided several reasons for Ridder's headway.
For starters, Ridder reportedly "wowed" NFL decision-makers with his interviews, dating as far back as the Senior Bowl. Miller also wrote that teams love Ridder's "experience, leadership, physical ability and confidence."
Also, Ridder showcased some impressive athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.52 seconds, which cemented him as one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the draft.
One can only assume that NFL teams are taking his college production into account as well since he far overshadows other quarterbacks in this year's class in that regard.
Ridder's 44 career wins as a starting quarterback is third in FBS history, plus he became the first quarterback to lead a non-Power 5 team—excluding independent Notre Dame—to the College Football Playoff when he took the Bearcats to the CFP last season.
His overall numbers as a four-year starter at Cincinnati were strong, but Ridder was at his best as a senior last season. He completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 3,334 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions while also rushing for 355 yards and six scores.
NFL Network insider Peter Schrager climbed aboard the hype train publicly on Thursday when he predicted that Ridder would go 32nd overall to the Detroit Lions in his first mock draft.
As part of his analysis, Schrager wrote that NFL teams believe Ridder has the "it" factor needed to be successful at the next level.
Given recent reports, the bigger question for Ridder now seems to be how high he will go in the first round rather than if he will be a first-round selection.
Miller named the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers as two teams that could have Ridder on their radar.
The Saints own the 16th and 19th overall picks in the 2022 NFL draft, while the Steelers will pick 20th. Quarterback-needy teams such as the Lions, Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks all have picks ahead of them.
With the Ridder buzz continuing to grow, it is possible the Saints or Steelers may have to trade up in order to secure Ridder if they truly view him as their quarterback of the future.