The Detroit Lions are doing their due diligence with their scouting of quarterbacks. Liberty’s Malik Willis is visiting with the Lions on Tuesday. And Pitt’s Kenny Pickett will meet with them on Wednesday. What about Desmond Ridder, though?
The Cincinnati quarterback is linked to the Lions on many mock drafts. Jared Goff is under contract with the Lions for the next few seasons. However, there’s a feeling that the Lions could draft his successor at some point in the upcoming draft. And Ridder could be that guy with the 32nd overall pick.
Is that the right choice, though?
The pros of taking Ridder at No. 32
Let’s not get things twisted here. Desmond Ridder has some talent. And a decent build. He’s 6’4 and around 215 pounds. Compared to someone like Malik Willis, you’d love Ridder’s size more. He has respectable arm strength, which he displayed all throughout last season. He had several passes in games vs. Notre Dame, Tulane, and South Florida that would please many Lions fans.
Ridder’s IQ, when recognizing a play is broken, is fairly decent. When he decides to escape the pocket and scramble for those extra yards, he’ll get them. He’s not necessarily fast, but he’s fairly elusive.
One more thing to marvel at with Ridder is that he shows poise in the pocket. When the defense is collapsing around him, he isn’t rattled, especially after taking a hit. He pops back up and is ready to go. And one last thing to marvel at about him is that he tries to place the ball where it allows his receivers to go up and make a play.
However, that’s pretty much where the buck stops.
The cons are some big ones
When watching tape on Desmond Ridder, one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is that he is consistently inconsistent. He’s not that great at going through his progressions. There are a lot of times that he’s made his mind up pre-snap whom he plans to throw to, despite what the defense is giving him. And when he locks onto a target, it’s painfully obvious. A lot of times, it’s given defenders the chance to react and make a play.
One big thing is that he takes a lot of unnecessary chances with football. Granted, Ridder only had eight picks last year, but his many tipped and deflected passes could’ve turned into interceptions. His accuracy issues are also glaring. On short and intermediate throws, he misses his receivers more than a team would like. He’ll either throw it too high, at his receivers feet, or behind them.
He’s also not a quarterback I’d trust to throw into tight windows at the pro level. He’ll get his receivers either lit up or defenders will pick him off.
Now let’s be fair…
If the Detroit Lions took Desmond Ridder with the 32nd overall pick, it would not be a bad choice, per se. He won’t come in as a day one starter, obviously. So if Jared Goff stays healthy, he’ll have a year to sit and work with quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell. And if Brunell could fix some of Ridder’s flaws, one would expect the Lions to move on from Goff the following year. He appears to have that “natural-born leader” feel to him.
That would go over well with a Dan Campbell locker room.
However, while it wouldn’t be a bad choice, it doesn’t mean it would be a good one either. Ridder doesn’t have that “IT factor” like Liberty’s Malik Willis. Both have question marks regarding their accuracy, but if the plan of Detroit Lions is to draft both their quarterback of the future and an EDGE rusher, taking Willis at No. 2 and moving up to snag Minnesota’s Boye Mafe would be the better play. Mafe is going to be the steal of the draft,, and his tape proves it.
Desmond Ridder to the Detroit Lions is possible, but for the fans’ sake, they should hope it isn’t probable. If the Lions decide to draft a quarterback at all this year, going with the best athlete available in Willis would be wiser. His upside is much higher than Ridder’s.
Follow Kory Woods on Twitter at KoryEWoods.