NFL Draft 2022: Falcons pick Desmond Knight in shocking quarterback selection

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The Atlanta Falcons selected quarterback Desmond Ridder in the third round with the number 74 overall and was the first quarterback taken on the second day of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Falcons’ selection of Knight was one of the biggest shockers on Day 2 of the draft. Experts expected Malik Willis to go in the first round, but have fallen far down.

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Desmond Knight # QB13 of the Cincinnati Bearcats throws during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 3, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Desmond Knight # QB13 of the Cincinnati Bearcats throws during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 3, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Justin Casterline / Getty Images)

Knight was a prominent quarterback in Cincinnati and led the Bearcats to an undefeated regular season in 2021 along with an American Athletic Conference championship and a College Football Playoff appearance. It was the first time a school outside the Power 5 Conference made the tournament.

Knight had 3,334 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes in his final season with the Bearcats. All were career highs in these categories.

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Alec Pierce # 12 and Desmond Knight # 9 of the Cincinnati Bearcats celebrate after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the SMU Mustangs at Nippert Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Alec Pierce # 12 and Desmond Knight # 9 of the Cincinnati Bearcats celebrate after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the SMU Mustangs at Nippert Stadium on November 20, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
(Dylan Buell / Getty Images)

Atlanta needs a starting quarterback after swapping Matt Ryan for the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason. The Falcons were reportedly close to acquiring Deshaun Watson before the Cleveland Browns struck at the last minute to trade for him. The turn of the event triggered Ryan’s trade with Indy.

The Falcons signed Marcus Mariota in the offseason. He had been backing Derek Carr with the Las Vegas Raiders the last couple of seasons. Mariota was a former No. 2 pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2015. He has not started a game since the 2019 season.

Feleipe Franks is the second quarterback on the Falcons’ list.

FILE - Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) looks set to pass out of pocket during the first half of the American Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game against Houston on Saturday, December 4, 2021 in Cincinnati.

FILE – Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) looks set to pass out of pocket during the first half of the American Athletic Conference championship NCAA college football game against Houston on Saturday, December 4, 2021 in Cincinnati.
(AP Photo / Jeff Dean, File)

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Atlanta selected wide receiver Drake London for their first round Thursday night.

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