NFL Draft Odds: Don’t Overlook Desmond Ridder As First Quarterback Selected

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Desmond Ridder is +3000 on FanDuel's oddsboard to be first QB selected in 2022 NFL Draft (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire)

It has not been hard to figure out who the first quarterback drafted was going to be in recent years. Trevor Lawrence was a no-brainer last year, as was Joe Burrow the year before, and Kyler Murray the year before that, all with the No. 1 pick. Based on 2022 NFL Draft odds, however, a QB is unlikely to be selected first overall in April. In fact, bettors will find it more challenging to predict which player at the position will have his name called first out of this year’s relatively weak draft class.

A couple of sportsbooks (PointsBet and FanDuel) are offering NFL Draft odds for ‘first quarterback drafted,’ and while there are two who stand out as betting favorites, this may depend a variety of factors, including what transpires with free agency and trades before the draft, and which teams need a quarterback the most.

NFL Draft Odds: First Quarterback

First Quarterback DraftedPointsBetFanDuel
Kenny Pickett+135+120
Malik Willis+135+150
Sam Howell+600+650
Matt Corral+1000+1000
Desmond Ridder+1500+3000
Carson Strong+5000+8000
Bailey Zappe+10000+10000
Kaleb Eleby+15000

Who Will Be Looking To Draft A Quarterback?

A quarterback has gone in the first round every year since the 49ers took Jim Druckenmiller with the 26th pick in 1997. There are quite a few teams in the QB market, so the chances are good that at least one of them will go in the first round. (Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft has three QBs going in the first round).

Since teams in the early rounds tend to go for the best player available over need, we can probably rule out teams with a perceived need at QB picking inside the top 10: Broncos (No. 9), Falcons (No. 8), Giants (N0s. 7 and 5), Panthers (No. 6), Texans (No. 3), and Lions (No. 2). The Washington Commanders are a possibility at No. 11, but rumors have them interested in Deshaun Watson.

Also read: Odds on next team for Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson

Outside the top 10, the Browns (No. 13) and Vikings (No. 12) have starters in place, making it unlikely one of them uses their first pick on a QB.

Atlanta is more likely to look for Matt Ryan’s potential successor in the second or third round. After one season, the Colts have supposedly lost faith in Carson Wentz, but Indianapolis does not pick until the second round (No. 47).

Of the remaining teams likely to be interested in a quarterback in the first round are the Saints (No. 18) and Steelers (No. 20). Both teams have solid defenses and a lot of great pieces on the offensive side of the ball, but neither has a guy that can lead the team to a division title, let alone the Super Bowl.

So, who’s it going to be?

Betting Analysis And A Longshot Worth Considering

Whoever takes the first quarterback in the draft will want someone they believe to be close to NFL-ready, a player who could potentially start in Week 1.

Talent does not always make up for lack of experience against formidable competition when it comes to NFL-readiness. Zach Wilson, who the Jets selected No. 2 overall in last year’s draft, had 28 starts in college, but the competition he faced at BYU was not that tough. While he has all the athletic gifts a team wants in a QB, his experience did not prep him for the NFL. Consequently, he struggled throughout his rookie season.

On the other hand, Mac Jones had only 17 starts at Alabama. But playing in the SEC under Nick Saban helped make him a viable starter as a rookie for the Patriots in Week 1 — and an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate (he finished second to Ja’Marr Chase).

Liberty’s Malik Willis sounds like he could be this year’s Wilson. An electric and exciting playmaker for the Flames, he is considered a project better suited for a team that does not have an immediate need at QB.

North Carolina’s Sam Howell has many of the physical tools teams love in a quarterback but has also been called a “project” quarterback.

The most NFL-ready guys in the draft are Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ridder.

Pickett started 49 games for the Pitt Panthers and played well enough last season to come in third in Heisman voting. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, many NFL executives see Pickett as the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft.

Ridder started 48 games for Cincinnati, improved every year, and led the Bearcats to the College Football Playoff. Some question the competition level Ridder faced in the American Athletic Conference, but PFF calls him the QB draft prospect most prepared for an immediate impact.

At 30-to-1 odds at FanDuel, Ridder is worth a look.

About the Author

Travis Pulver

Writer and Contributor
Travis Pulver is a lifelong football fan, something he says comes naturally having been born in the football-crazy state of Texas. Through the years, his love of sports has extended into baseball, basketball, golf, and rugby. Life currently finds him in Indiana with his wife and two kids.

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