Should the Atlanta Falcons start Desmond Ridder this season?
By Nick Halden
The Atlanta Falcons believe they have found their quarterback of the future after drafting Desmond Ridder on day two of the NFL draft. Ridder and the majority of this year’s quarterback class fell two rounds below where many pundits had them being selected. Ridder fell all the way to the third round with Atlanta taking him as the 10th pick in the 3rd round their fourth selection.
With Marcus Mariota signed to a two-year deal and Ridder coming in as a 3rd round pick the obvious question is who will be Atlanta’s starter in week one? While it is possible that Mariota might start the first few games of the season there shouldn’t be any question Ridder should end the season as the starting quarterback.
Mariota isn’t a long-term answer for Atlanta and is likely going to struggle to start the season. There is a reason the Titans benched him in favor of Ryan Tannehill who is now likely going to be replaced by Malik Willis.
If Ridder is the answer Atlanta has a short window to build a winning roster before having to pay the quarterback. There is no reason to waste the first year of his deal and sit him in favor of a player that doesn’t necessarily give you a better chance to win.
Ridder needs to be given the chance to start this season and sink or swim. The only argument for starting Mariota is if the Falcons want to start Marcus for the first quarter of the season allowing Ridder more time to get used to the offense and allowing the fans to see just how truly awful this roster is.
This gives Ridder far less pressure considering the Falcons will already be established as a bad team and Mariota will have played to his talent level. If Ridder is the long-term answer what is the argument for keeping him off the field this season?
One case that could be made is the fact the Falcons are yet to improve an underwhelming offensive line that is a risk to any quarterback lined up behind it. However, at Ridder’s age and with his ability to make plays out of the pocket that shouldn’t be enough to keep him out of the starting lineup this season.
Ridder’s rookie season should be spent starting by giving Atlanta an idea if they have their franchise quarterback. Giving the front office time to make a move in next year’s quarterback draft class and trade market if Ridder isn’t the answer.