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It seems like all of sudden Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder is rising up team's draft boards and is a sure-fire first-round pick, or at least the media is making it appear that way. Jeremy Fowler said on ESPN on Tuesday that Ridder's name is "buzzing" in league circles.
Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network reached out to six general managers and one mentioned Ridder as a mid-first round pick possibility in regards to the Saints' motive for trading up with the Eagles.
Charles Davis of NFL.com is also on the Ridder train, as he thinks Ridder could be a sleeper pick for the Steelers. Longtime Steelers reporter James Wexell said he would be fine if the Steelers just stayed at 20 and selected Ridder.
Ridder had a pre-draft visit with the Steelers on Thursday, and according to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network, the Steelers will also have Sam Howell in for a visit on Friday. Carson Strong, Matt Corral are scheduled for next week and Malik Willis is slated to come to town the week after. Kinkhabwala notes that Pickett has already met with the Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who doesn't count against the 30 pre-draft visits that the Steelers are permitted because he's local.
Ridder is a big-armed quarterback who possesses mobility, which is exactly what the Steelers are looking for. And with Willis likely going in the top 10 and the Steelers not having the draft capital to trade up, the Steelers very well could settle for Ridder at No. 20. Next year's quarterback class is considered to be more talented, but there are no guarantees that the Steelers will get either C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young. If Tomlin sees potential in Ridder to grow and develop, the Steelers very well could take him. Just a few weeks ago, it didn't seem like a real possibility that Ridder would go as high as No. 20, but that theory is now picking up steam.
Dan Orlovsky of ESPN said if he were the Panthers, Steelers or Falcons, he would trade back to pick Ridder. That might be a more prudent move for the Steelers, as No. 20 seems a little too high for Ridder. If they can trade back and select him early in the second, that would be ideal. Orlovsky also compared Ridder to Alex Smith.
Ridder was a four-year starter at Cincinnati and finished his career with an 87-28 touchdown-interception ratio. Including a career-best 30 touchdowns and more than 3,300 yards as a senior last season. The Steelers met with Ridder at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine, and he had a steak dinner with Mike Tomlin the night before his pro day last month.