Falcons officially sign Desmond Ridder as rookies report to training camp

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The Falcons have officially signed their 2022 draft class as rookies report to training camp. Third-round pick Desmond Ridder and the team agreed to terms on a four-year deal worth over $5 million.

The Falcons have a quarterback competition brewing in Flowery Branch between the rookie and veteran Marcus Mariota. As it stands right now, the former No. 2 overall pick has to be the favorite to be the team’s starting quarterback Week 1, but reports suggest the Cincy product is going to make things interesting in training camp.

“He’s light years ahead of most other young quarterbacks from the neck up,” Arthur Smith said of Ridder. “I will give him that compliment.”

Ridder just isn’t having normal rookie struggles.

“Honestly, I’m not going to lie, I thought I was going to come in and struggle a little bit,” Ridder said. “We’re almost all the way through all our installs and putting in all those checks. I’ve got a good grasp of it. That kind of surprised me, honestly, you know? I’m not going to say I wouldn’t have picked it up, but I thought it would take me just a little bit longer, an extra couple of days. But I’ve been able to pick up on it pretty smoothly.”

One of the most important characteristics of being a quarterback in this league is commanding a large group of grown men, which can be challenging for a young player like Ridder. It seems that’s not going to be a problem, though.

“Guys kind of gravitate to him,” Charles London said. “He’s a natural leader, and leadership is hard. It’s hard to judge somebody’s leadership. People can tell you he’s a leader, but most guys that are really great leaders, they lead by their own style, their own way.”

Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

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