Getty The Steelers could select Desmond Ridder in the 2022 NFL draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers could be considering signing a quarterback in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.
As reported by Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, University of Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder visited the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Thursday, April 7.
“Desmond Ridder, who led the Cincinnati Bearcats to the college football playoff last year, is at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Thursday for a visit from top 30 prospects,” Fittipaldo said. “The other top quarterbacks in the draft are scheduled to follow in the coming days and weeks.”
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport had initially reported that Ridder would pay a visit to the Steelers, followed Friday by University of North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell.
Ridder is easily the fastest QB of the 2022 Draft Prospects
This isn’t the first time the athletic Ridder has met the Steelers. The 22-year-old quarterback also had meetings with the Steelers at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine, as Fittipaldo points out. That’s in addition to Ridder’s meeting with head coach Mike Tomlin before Cincinnati’s pro day in March.
Ridder is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL draft class. However, he is not expected to be selected until late in the first round or early in the second round. That would fit perfectly with the Steelers considering they don’t pick until No. 20 in the first round.
The two-time reigning AAC Player of the Year is known for his dazzling speed. The 6-foot-3, 211-pound quarterback ran a 4.52 time in the 40-yard dash. Ridder’s 40-yard rush was not only the best among all quarterback prospects, it was easily the highest of any of the other QBs projected to be drafted at first. Kenny Pickett of the University of Pittsburgh fell far behind with a time of 4.73 for the 40 yards.
None of the other top QB prospects — Howell, Malik Willis and Matt Corral — ranked in the top eight among players at their position at 40 yards.
Ridder made a name for himself after leading the Bearcats to a college football playoff appearance during the 2021 season. Cincinnati became the first Non-Power 5 team to make it to the College Football Playoff.
ESPN’s Todd McShay has drafted Ridder with the Detroit Lions’ No. 32 pick in his latest mock draft. As McShay points out, Ridder’s athleticism is a strong point. However, his lack of precision is a concern.
“Ridder isn’t a sure thing, and he has too many ball placement errors, but his strong arm, good mobility and high-level ability to read the pitch make him an intriguing choice to cap Day 1,” McShay wrote in 5th of April.
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Trubisky is not a lock to start for the Steelers
While the Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky with the likely intention of him being the starting quarterback to start the season, that doesn’t mean a rookie can’t unseat him.
Trubisky hasn’t started a game since the 2020 season and didn’t exactly turn it on during his tenure with the Chicago Bears. The former No. 2 overall pick in the draft left Chicago after four lackluster seasons. According to Pro Football Focus, Trubisky’s highest offensive rating was 66.4, which he posted during his rookie season in 2017. That number ranked near the bottom of the league among all rated quarterbacks at 28th.
That could leave the door open for a rookie like Ridder to win the starting job. In fact, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, that’s what Ridder plans to do in his rookie season.
“Desmond Ridder is a name that is buzzing in league circles,” Fowler said on April 5. “During interviews with the team, the quarterback made it clear that he plans to beat a veteran in camp.”
Considering the Steelers are looking for their first franchise quarterback in the post-Ben Roethlisberger era, Ridder may well emerge as that guy.
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