The Atlanta Falcons had their choice of quarterbacks in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft—excluding Kenny Pickett—and they set their sights on Desmond Ridder out of Cincinnati.
And, of course, with every pick comes scrutiny as many argued they should have taken the “better talent” in Malik Willis out of Liberty. As we all know, talent doesn’t mean success and the Falcons have already been proven to have made the right pick.
Titans already benched their rookie QB proving the Falcons made the correct pick with Ridder
Now, with every statement comes a disclaimer, we are too early into the careers of these two young quarterbacks to tell who ends up being the better choice but based on early indications, the Falcons are the winners.
Even before Kenny Pickett was drafted, there was a Malik Willis vs. Desmond Ridder fight. Willis has exceptional talent but is raw, while Ridder was considered a more “pro-ready QB.” The Liberty QB ended up hearing his name called 12 picks after the Cincinnati QB.
Ironically enough, Willis ended up making a start before Ridder, as Titans starter Ryan Tannehill went down with an injury. The rookie struggled and Tannehill eventually healed, only to end up injured again, prompting Willis to start a couple more games. Willis has now thrown a pass in six games and started in three games, but the Titans already benched him as they try to fight for the playoffs.
They benched him for Joshua Dobbs, a former fourth-round pick by the Steelers in 2017 who has thrown just 17 passes and has never started a game. Yet, here they are benching their rookie quarterback for him against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football.
While it isn’t the most important game for them, since next week’s game against Jacksonville will determine the division winner, it is still a game that will give either quarterback more experience to go and beat the surging Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars next week. I would dare say that whoever they were going to start this week, which is obviously Dobbs, is who they will start next week.
Meanwhile, Desmond Ridder will go into the third start of his career on Sunday with, already, better passing numbers than Malik Willis, in fewer games. Ridder has completed over 9% more of his passes for 39 more yards on two fewer attempts, they both have zero touchdown passes, and Willis has two interceptions compared to Ridder’s zero.
While it is certainly true that Malik has had no one to throw to, he still has Derrick Henry. Desmond doesn’t exactly have a good receiving corp either outside of Drake London. So, while, neither of them have been perfect, Malik Willis’ early benching signals toward the idea that the Falcons made the right decision when they drafted Desmond Ridder over Willis.