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NFL Draft 2022: Falcons take Desmond Ridder, Titans select Malik Willis in third

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NFL Draft 2022: Falcons take Desmond Ridder, Titans select Malik Willis in third
Former Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder, shown Dec. 31, 2021, had his best season in 2021, when he recorded 3,334 passing yards with 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions. File Photo by Ian Halperin/UPI | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) -- After just one quarterback went in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons ended the 54-pick gap between quarterbacks by selecting Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder in Friday's third round.

The Falcons used the No. 74 overall pick in the draft to take Ridder. The only other signal-caller drafted before Ridder this year was Kenny Pickett, who was selected at No. 20 overall Thursday night by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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It is the latest that a second quarterback has come off the board in a single draft since 1996, when Tony Banks was the first quarterback taken by St. Louis at No. 42 and Bobby Hoying went to Philadelphia at No. 85.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Ridder was a four-year starter for the Bearcats. He recorded 3,334 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions in what was his best season in 2021.

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Ridder, 22, completed at least 60% of his throws in three of four seasons at Cincinnati. He threw at least 18 touchdowns in each season and never tossed more than nine picks in a season.

Ridder is the second quarterback taken by Atlanta since the franchise selected Matt Ryan in 2008. The other was Sean Renfree, who went at No. 249 in 2013.

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Ryan was traded to the Indianapolis Colts earlier this off-season. To replace him, the Falcons added veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Later in the third round, the Tennessee Titans took Liberty quarterback Malik Willis at No. 86 overall.

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The Titans traded up with the Las Vegas Raiders to make Willis the third quarterback to fly off the board.

Willis, an Atlanta native, began his career at Auburn before transferring to Liberty. He passed for more than 5,000 career yards and ran for more than 1,800 yards in his collegiate career.

Just eight picks later, the Carolina Panthers traded up to grab Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral.

Over parts of four seasons at Ole Miss, he compiled 8,287 passing yards with 57 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.

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