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Falcons HC Arthur Smith has been impressed by QB Desmond Ridder's football IQ. “He’s very intelligent,” Smith said of Ridder. “There are a lot of things that go into playing quarterback that we ask him to do. Behind the scenes, the things that he has done that have really impressed me are from the neck up. You’re betting on the physical things that you have seen at times to catch up, but he’s light years ahead of most young quarterbacks I have been with from the neck up. I will give him that compliment publicly.” QB Marcus Mariota will head to training camp as Atlanta's starter, but it sounds like Ridder is in position to push him for the Week 1 nod.

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Falcons HC Arthur Smith left open the possibility that rookie QB Desmond Ridder gets some starts this season. “As with any position, the best guy is going to play,” Smith said. “With Marcus [Mariota] being the veteran, that’s the way it’ll go for now.” So Mariota will head to training camp atop the depth chart and should be considered the favorite to start Week 1. But it'd certainly make sense for the Falcons to get a good look at Ridder before deciding whether they want to dive back into the QB market in 2023. Ridder was the best player on Atlanta's board when they selected him 74th overall on Friday night. “There was never a time where Arthur Smith and I said we have to come out of this draft with a quarterback,” GM Terry Fontenot said. “He was the best player on the board at that time, and that’s why we took him.”

The Falcons selected QB Desmond Ridder in Round 3 of the NFL Draft. At 6’3, 211 pounds, Ridder’s on the thin side for the QB position. But his lack of special arm talent and inconsistent accuracy likely led to his slide. Still, he enters the pros with 49 career starts and the 3rd most QB wins in FBS history (43). The 22-year-old adds plus mobility, pocket poise and high character. He has a chance to make some 2022 starts, but Marcus Mariota will enter the summer as the clear favorite. Longer term, you have to like Atlanta's current 1-2 punch of Kyle Pitts and Drake London.

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