Carson Strong, Nevada
Of the top five quarterbacks in this class, Nevada’s Carson Strong is easily the one I’m the least familiar with. That being said, Strong’s size and prototypical quarterback mold stand out quite literally above the rest. Strong stands at nearly 6’4 and comes in at about 220 pounds. Mechanically, Strong is sound, and his throwing base helps him drive the ball downfield with accuracy, intent, and velocity. His arm strength is astounding, especially when he’s throwing from a good mechanical base as he often does.
Where Strong struggles seems to be all the little things. He has trouble getting (and keeping) his feet set in the pocket. His processing is good, but his lack of mobility can lead to dangerous throws that could either result in a turnover or getting his receiver hurt. In a traditional vertical passing offense, Strong can shine, but be warned that he needs a clean pocket, no questions asked. Strong is poised in the pocket, but he needs to keep himself aware and not force the ball to his first read.
Comparison: Strong seems to remind a lot of people of Carson Wentz, but to me he feels like Josh Allen if he were wearing concrete shoes and had a bit more polish coming out of Wyoming.
Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati
Ridder is the classic case of “good at mostly everything, but not great at anything” and I think that’s okay for him to be a first-round pick. Ridder is everything you want in a quarterback mechanically, and his perfect fundamentals could be a result of being a four-year starter at Cincinnati. Ridder’s mental game is perhaps the best in the class, and it shows with the Bearcats’ success since his been there. When it’s winning time and Cincinnati needs a hero, Ridder is always there to come up with the big play no matter what the play is.
What cools Ridder’s draft stock off is his inconsistent accuracy. Despite his absolutely stellar mechanics and throwing base, he doesn’t seem to have the feel for leading his receivers and throwing with regular anticipation. Ridder has trouble utilizing his check down and usually hunts for the touchdown, no matter what the situation is. I respect the killer instinct and I love that in my quarterbacks, but Ridder needs to calm down. Once again, he’s good at most things, but not elite at any one thing, and some scouts might see that lack of a signature trait as a deficiency in his game.
Comparison: Ridder’s inconsistent accuracy paired with good mobility remind me of a smoother and cleaner Daniel Jones, with a healthy bit of Ryan Tannehill in him.