Pittsburgh Steelers, mock drafts, and quarterbacks. The three musketeers of this draft season. It’s hard to find a mock draft without a quarterback in it. And with good reason. For the first time in 18 years, the Steelers are searching for one. In Pro Football Network James Fragoza’s latest mock draft, a three-round adventure, he has the team taking Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder at #20.
Here’s what Fragoza writes about the pick.
“Out goes Ben Roethlisberger, and in comes Desmond Ridder. Ridder is a far better athlete than Big Ben, which opens the offense up a bit. Now, he isn’t a runner like Willis, but defenses will have to account for his speed. Ridder has a cannon for an arm but needs to hone it in as he has inconsistent accuracy. Still, the talent to be a starter in the NFL is there.”
Ridder impressed during the NFL Combine, testing extremely well with a 40 in the mid 4.5’s and elite-level broad and vertical numbers for the position. His RAS score is one of the better ones for a quarterback, a 9.8 mark.
Desmond Ridder is a QB prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored an unofficial 9.8 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 18 out of 831 QB from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/xc4lrKVVko #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/XT9Ylcjc9P
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 4, 2022
Of course, what Ridder does when he’s not on the run is far more important. He’s regarded as an accurate passer who led the Bearcats to the College Football Playoffs last season, battle-tested against top teams like Notre Dame and Alabama, beating the Fighting Irish on the road.
For his career, Ridder completed nearly 63% of his passes but bettered that mark to just under 65% his senior season. He threw 87 touchdowns to 28 interceptions, posting an impressive TD to INT ratio in 2021, 3.75 to 1. He also recorded 28 rushing touchdowns, including a whopping 12 of them in ten games two years ago.
Ridder is in the second tier of quarterbacks but is getting some first-round buzz in this jumbled class of arms. Pittsburgh reportedly hasn’t shown much interest in Ridder (he did meet with the team at the Senior Bowl) but he’s a name that shouldn’t be discounted.
In the second round at #52, PFN has the team taking Washington State OT Abraham Lucas. An underrated tackle, Lucas has also enjoyed an impressive pre-draft process both at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. He tested like a great athlete, especially in his shuttle drills, while consistently winning his 1v1s at Mobile. A four-year starter for the Cougars, he’s one of the most experienced linemen in this class.
Finally, with pick #84 in the third round, he has the team taking Georgia CB Derion Kendrick. He spent his first three years at Clemson before transferring to Georgia for his final season. A former wide receiver, he picked off four passes for that great Bulldogs’ defense in 2021. He’s a bit on the lanky size but is regarded as an athletic cover corner. However, he has off-field concerns that may scare teams like the Steelers away.
Again, check out PFN’s latest mock here. I’ll recap the picks below.
First Round (#20 Overall) – Desmond Ridder/QB Cincinnati
Second Round (#52 Overall) – Abraham Lucas/OT Washington State
Third Round (#84 Overall) – Derion Kendrick/CB Georgia
Check out our player profiles on Ridder and Lucas below. We’ll have one on Kendrick before the draft.