47. Indianapolis Colts
Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Don’t be surprised if the Colts take a quarterback with their first pick in this draft. General manager Chris Ballard was clearly not happy about Carson Wentz’s finish to the season. The 6-foot-3 Ridder is polished in going through progressions — he took a big step in 2021, leading the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff — and he can execute in all areas of the field. He could be an appealing backup plan to Wentz, who isn’t owed much guaranteed money on the rest of his contract.
Biggest needs: OT, WR, CB
The 6’4”, 215 pound senior quarterback completed 251 of 377 pass attempts (64.9%) for 3,334 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions during 14 starts in 2021—en route to earning AAC Offensive Player of the Year honors (for a consecutive season) and leading the Bearcats to the 2022 College Football Playoff.
He was recently named the ‘Offensive Player of the Game’ in this weekend’s Senior Bowl that was held in Mobile, Alabama—showcasing his talent against his peers:
Ridder is well regarded for his athleticism, arm strength, and competitiveness, but still struggles at times with his accuracy and ball placement.
He would be a natural fit in the Colts offense which plays off its strong running game (with Jonathan Taylor) to incorporate RPOs, play-action, and the occasional boot-leg rollout—as a developmental dual-threat quarterback prospect.
That being said, the Colts already lost their 2022 first round pick addressing the quarterback position with incumbent starter Carson Wentz—and the jury is still well out on the long-term answer at the position.
While that should be viewed as a ‘sunk cost’ at this point, and the Colts are still facing lingering questions at starting quarterback, it would be hard to see general manager Chris Ballard addressing this position again in such a fashion with limited draft capital already—especially when the Colts face critical needs at wide receiver, edge rusher, and at left tackle.
It’s not that Ridder can’t be considered a nice quarterback prospect, but if the Colts keep throwing darts at quarterbacks and missing with their significant draft capital, they run the risk of the rest of the roster’s talent not only deteriorating, but deteriorating rather rapidly.