Cincinnati Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder has shaky Senior Bowl debut

Senior Bowl Day 1 was a shaky one for Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder, who was inaccurate in his first practice of the week.

MOBILE, AL — The good news for Desmond Ridder is his very important week can only improve. The Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback, with much to prove ahead of the NFL Draft, figuratively stubbed his toe time and again in his first Senior Bowl practice on Tuesday, February 1.

Desmond Ridder inaccurate in first Senior Bowl practice

Ridder, one of three quarterbacks for the National Team, twice fumbled the quarterback-center exchange, and the accuracy issues that concerned scouts heading into the week flared up time and again.

Splitting snaps with Nevada’s Carson Strong and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Ridder didn’t take advantage of his limited reps. He airmailed back-to-back throws during one-on-ones and had a number of poor throws during team drills.

It’s not uncommon for quarterbacks to show rough edges on Day 1 of practice. They’re learning a new offense with a bunch of new teammates. In 2018, Josh Allen was bad on the first day of Senior Bowl practice but improved as the week went on.

The Bills certainly weren’t scared off by one bad practice, and Ridder’s uneven day alone is, of course, not disqualifying.

Ridder again struggles against top talent

But Ridder’s misfires fed into a pre-existing narrative. His accuracy was an issue at Cincinnati, as his 64.9% completion percentage in 2021 ranked 34th nationally. He surely could have used a strong afternoon in the biggest audition of his career.

What’s more, Ridder fumbled two snaps, prompting him to take extra snaps following practice.

PFN Draft Analyst Tony Pauline projects Ridder as a third-round pick, and the Bearcats QB did nothing Tuesday to improve that projection. In fact, he might have hurt his stock. He’s now struggled twice in a month against NFL-caliber talent. Ridder completed 17 of 32 passes for just 144 yards in the Bearcats’ 3-touchdown loss to Alabama in the semifinal of the College Football Playoffs.

Ridder, a two-time AAC Offensive Player of the Year, will have three more practices and the all-star game Saturday to change perceptions that he built his résumé against a bunch of inferior players.

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