3 Reasonable expectations for Desmond Ridder after the 2023 NFL draft
By Nick Halden
2. Desmond Ridder finishes with 300-400 rushing yards
One of the most surprising aspects of Ridder's first four games with Atlanta is how little the quarterback used his legs. While the former Cincy quarterback isn't quite the rusher Marcus Mariota was he is still more than capable of taking what the defense gives him.
This is a reasonable number in Arthur Smith's system when you consider Ridder's speed and the play-action aspect of this offense. Ridder is quick enough to fool the defense and take what the defense gives him or to get to the outside in short-yardage situations. Even with the trio of running backs Atlanta has it is completely possible Ridder far exceeds this number.
Matt Ryan managed to finish with 147 rushing yards in the 2019 season despite not being close to the rusher that Ridder is. With 17 games now in a season it is completely reasonable to expect Ridder to get at least 300 rushing yards on the season and likely end the year closer to 400.
Desmond must approach this season with a point guard mentality looking to hand the ball off or quickly put it in the hands of his best weapons. When the reads aren't quickly there Arthur Smith will empower Ridder to use his speed running many of the same plays Mariota did last season.