The Atlanta Falcons brought in two new quarterbacks this offseason in Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder. It seems as if fans are especially excited about the newest Falcons quarterback, Desmond Ridder. Now, the seven-year veteran Mariota does seem to be the favorite to be week one starter for The Dirty Birds so far, but this year’s 74th overall pick out of Cincinnati does have a chance to win the starting job out of training camp, as Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith says there is “open competition everywhere”. However, even though Jon Chuckery really likes Desmond Ridder he thinks the rookie shouldn’t start for the Falcons, and he wouldn’t even be mad if he doesn’t play at all for the Falcons this year. Jon doesn’t want Ridder to sit because he doesn’t think he can play right away, but because he doesn’t want Desmond Ridder to risk having his quarterback growth stunted by a Falcons offensive line that he explained has three of the ten worst pass protecting starting offensive lineman in the National Football League.
Ben Baldwin, who does a lot of analytical work, took every NFL team's post draft expected starting offensive line and ranked each individual offensive lineman based upon their expected pass protection grades. To give you the quick math, multiplying five starting offensive lineman times thirty-two NFL teams equals one hundred and sixty total offensive lineman that Baldwin ranked. Matt Hennessy, Kaleb McGary, and Jalen Mayfield all rank in the bottom ten of that list. Where do they rank exactly you might ask? Well, Kaleb McGary comes in at number 152 out of 160, Matt Hennessy ranks 155 out of 160, and you guessed it Jalen Mayfield ranks 160 out of 160. According to Ben Baldwin’s rank the Atlanta Falcons have three of the ten worst pass protecting offensive lineman in the NFL. Those numbers listed are the reason Jon doesn’t want to see rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder starting right away saying “Why would I want Desmond Ridder in to play quarterback with three of the nine worst offensive lineman in pass protection in the NFL. Why would I subject him to that?” Jon continued by saying “You saw Justin Fields last year, simply running around doesn’t solve anything does it? When he took nine sacks in his first game ever that didn’t solve anything, did it?”
Now, Jalen Mayfield was a rookie forced into action last year and Matt Hennessy was just a second year player, but when Jon saw the numbers from Ben he was even “blown away” Even with Desmond Ridder, Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and all the tall pass catchers the Falcons have, Jon believes the Atlanta Falcons offense isn’t going anywhere until they “fix their line of scrimmage”. With no disrespect to Marcus Mariota, Jon says “I would rather break Marcus Mariota than break Desmond Ridder.” Jon made a great point using the Justin Fields analogy, no matter how mobile or dynamic the quarterback, if the offensive line isn’t up to par a quarterback running around for his life will get an NFL team nowhere. To boil it down to a simple point, until the Atlanta Falcons don’t have three of ten worst pass blocking offensive lineman in the NFL, Desmond Ridder shouldn’t be the starter.