2. Desmond Ridder
If Desmond Ridder cannot prove he is a starter in this league within the first half of the season with Atlanta it is hard to see the quarterback getting another chance as a starter. This is what happens to players who aren’t Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold and come with a high first-round price tag. Players who have first-round picks spent on them are going to earn more opportunities than those with less invested as is the case with Ridder.
The bar is low for Desmond in Atlanta in a run-first offense after watching one of the worst seasons of Matt Ryan’s career followed by a terrible string of starts by Marcus Mariota. The bar has never been any lower at the position for the Falcons in the last decade.
Ridder simply needs to protect the football and make open throws consistently. Something Mariota was incapable of and arguably cost Atlanta a chance at a home playoff game in the 2022 season.
If the Falcons opt not to swing big at the position and provide veteran competition this will likely be Ridder’s only chance to prove he is a starter in this league.