LAS VEGAS — The Atlanta Falcons selected University of Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
"I'm just blessed to be here in this opportunity with my friends and family," Ridder said after the pick. "Obviously, landed in a great place in Atlanta — great coaching staff, great owner, great GM, so I'm excited to go down there and get ready to work."
The Louisville native noted his daughter was asleep when he got selected, saying "They didn't pick me up early enough."
Ridder finished his career at UC on college football’s brightest stage, the College Football Playoff (CFP). The CFP appearance came on the heels of an unbeaten regular season and a win over Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship.
The 22-year-old won 44 games as a Bearcat, making him the winningest quarterback in program history and the third-winningest quarterback in college football history.
Ridder told WCPO his winning qualities have been at the center of his message to NFL teams.
"They're getting a winner; getting a great leader — a person who's going to come into an organization and bring a championship to them," Ridder said. "To be able to change the way a culture is at an organization, to be a winning culture, to go out there and win Super Bowls on a consistent basis."
Ridder would be the fifth Cincinnati quarterback to be drafted into the National Football League. The most recent was Tony Pike in 2010.
“It’s a testament of the hard work I’ve put in not only this season, but in the season before,” Ridder said. “After coming back [for one final season], this is where I wanted to be. Just knowing the work I’ve put in and the preparation to get to this moment, and to live out my dreams is exciting.”
ESPN’s NFL Draft Analyst, Jordan Reid, spoke to WCPO about the qualities teams found impressive about Ridder, noting his maturity.
“Him already being a father, [he is] very mature," Reid said. "The character checks out.”
Reid also mentioned Ridder’s proven ability to lead his team to wins.
This is just the third draft in the last 30 years in which one quarterback was selected in the first two rounds.
All seven rounds of the NFL Draft will air on WCPO.