I know, I know. The 2022 Draft just ended, and the Falcons snagged their potential quarterback of the future in Desmond Ridder. As discussed on the SportsTalkATL podcast, Atlanta would be wise to give Ridder a long look in 2022. It’s imperative that Terry Fontenot knows what the team has in the signal caller out of Cincinnati before considering their options next offseason.
What are the chances Desmond Ridder starts at any point in 2022? The boys discuss on the first episode of the return of the SportsTalkATL Podcast pic.twitter.com/99hmMtOuwZ
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) May 3, 2022
Just to clear the air — this article is by no means a knock on Ridder or an assumption that he’s not the QB of the future. I believe he has the tools be the Falcons’ leader for years to come. Still, when it comes to finding a franchise quarterback, it generally takes a few times to get it right; just look at the Browns and Jets. If the Falcons don’t believe Ridder is ready to take over the reins in 2023, quarterback will be at the top of their priority list next offseason, and there will be a ton of options from which to choose from. Everyone knows about Bryce Young and CJ Stroud, but here are a couple of guys I think have the potential to be just as good at the next level.
The Florida Gators quarterback is an athletic specimen and living highlight reel, but he’s still an unpolished prospect at the moment. 2022 is a critical year for him as he adjusts to the new coaching staff at Florida and attempts to improve on interception issues that plagued him in 2021. Overall, though, the sheer talent is undeniable and will be enough to get him drafted. This season will be critical in determining how high.
Florida QB Anthony Richardson is a big-bodied passer (6-4, 238 lbs) who's a dynamic athlete. Fast, elusive, shifty who can create yards after contact. Tough runner inside.
— WBG84 (@WBG84) May 7, 2022
Continuing with the SEC East trend, Will Levis is a QB with a ton of potential for Kentucky. I’m not even sure he can be classified as underrated, because many draft experts already have him going in the top five next year, and I’ve even seen him go as high as one. However, the common fan might wonder why the hype is so high for this young man.
Against the eventual National Champion Georgia Bulldogs, Levis showed what he’s capable of. Facing the best defense in the country, he completed 32 of 42 passes for 192 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. With how outmatched his supporting cast was, it was no small feat. Levis can make an array of incredible throws and has the frame of a top-flight NFL QB.
I know for the national media folks the Will Levis hype feels sudden and forced, sure some of it is. He might not be the first overall pick, but he can do this, and that's enough to garner the attention he's getting. pic.twitter.com/c3cZBR05Nj
— Jesse Riffe (@JesseRiffe) May 10, 2022
He’s also not too shabby of an athlete either.
These two are perfect examples of why the Falcons have to find out what they have in Desmond Ridder this season. Because even though CJ Stroud and Bryce Young have all the hype going into the college football season, it’s not just them. There are a plethora of potential franchise quarterbacks in next year’s draft, and the Falcons may need to come away with one in the first round.
Photo: Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire