The Falcons seemed to have done much better in Terry Fontenot’s second draft as the team’s general manager than his first. Atlanta filled several of the team’s biggest needs. They landed one of the best receivers in the draft with their first-rounder, then solidified the future at pass rusher and quarterback on Day 2.
On most accounts, the national media has praised the Falcons for their work in last month’s draft. Jim Nagy complimented Atlanta’s Senior Bowl selections, which isn’t necessarily surprising given his status as the event’s Executive Director. However, there have been others who are less biased.
Pro Football Focus was very fond of the Falcons draft haul; Ted Nguyen of The Athletic had Drake London and Desmond Ridder as two of his favorite scheme fits from the entire 2022 draft class, and Jordan Palmer is saying more of the same.
Palmer didn’t have the illustrious career that his brother Carson Palmer did in the NFL, but he’s exponentially better as a teacher than a player. Palmer is the founder of QB Summit, quickly ascending as one of the hottest private coaches in football. Ironically, he worked with Ridder and London in their final two years of college ball and had nothing but great things to say about the two rookies.
“One hundred percent,” Palmer said to Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “I like Drake London as an NFL receiver, his catch radius, (his ability to) go up and get it. You are creating other places to throw. That guy might look covered, but he’s not covered if I throw it here. That fits really well with what Desmond did in college.”
“It’s the way that Drake plays above 7 feet off the ground, it’s wingspan, it’s also jumping ability, hand-eye coordination and his ability to adjust, those things, those are easy throws to get good at making for any quarterback,” Palmer continued. “Drake’s ability to go up and get it, to catch the ball away from his body, to catch the ball in traffic, is the first thing that jumps out to me.”
Palmer’s praise continued with Ridder as well.
“He’s a true competitor, not (just) in football but in everything that he does,” Palmer noted. “Not everybody is that way. Not all these guys are like that. There are a lot of quarterbacks who will compete in football-related things, but they don’t eat that healthy, they’re not that disciplined with their workout schedule or their sleep or their recovery or whatever their vices are. They pick and choose what they want to be competitive in. Then there are guys who are competitive in every single area of their life. Like (Ridder) wants to be the best dad ever. It’s every phase of his life. That’s the first thing I noticed.”
“When you get somebody who is that competitive, they are going to get way better because as long as you show them what they can improve on and how they can improve on it, that’s kind of it. They are going to take it and do it,” Palmer said. “I have worked with Desmond for almost two years, and he’s going really fast in what we do. He’s not interested in getting halfway toward anything.”
When your friends say nice things about you, it might not feel as genuine because of their relationship; however, Palmer’s statements seem to be from a place of truth. We won’t know how good this draft class is for a few years, but everyone seems to be high on the Falcons’ crop of rookies, so that’s encouraging.
Photographer: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire