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Finally, a quarterback heard his name called in the NFL draft on Friday. It took almost three hours.
The Atlanta Falcons selected Desmond Ridder from Cincinnati with the 74th overall pick in the third round. Only one quarterback was selected in the first round and none were taken in the second round.
Ridder was a record-setting quarterback at Cincinnati and led the Bearcats to unprecedented success. That's what caused the Falcons to take him over other prospects like Malik Willis or Matt Corral, though it took Atlanta a while before they took the leap.
The Falcons took USC receiver Drake London in the first round, then Penn State edge defender Arnold Ebiketie and Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen in the second round, passing on quarterbacks including Ridder with each pick.
Had Ridder been a first-round pick, he'd be viewed as the obvious long-term replacement for Matt Ryan, who was traded to the Colts in the offseason. Third-round picks are assured of a lot less, but Ridder will have a chance. The Falcons have Marcus Mariota, who they signed in the offseason, but he's likely a bridge quarterback until the Falcons find their permanent answer. Ridder might need some time to develop in the NFL, and the Falcons don't have to rush him into the lineup.
Mariota could resurrect his career and become that permanent QB answer for the Falcons. Or perhaps it will be Ridder. Quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and Russell Wilson have had fine careers after being passed over until the middle rounds. The Falcons decided to take a potential quarterback of the future, though it took them a long time to make it happen.