Falcons head coach Arthur Smith hates player comparisons. New Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder loves them.

When Ridder was selected by the Falcons with the 74th pick in the NFL Draft, he told reporters he felt like it was a natural fit because Atlanta already had Marcus Mariota.

“As a lot of people know, I compare myself to him,” Ridder said. “Our athletic abilities, leadership, our ability to extend plays and then be smart with the ball when we do extend plays. I think that’s something we do really well, being able to use our legs to get outside the pocket and make an efficient throw, not do anything dumb with the ball. I think both of us do a really good job of that.”

The Falcons signed Mariota as a free agent on March 22 to fill the hole left by the trade of veteran Matt Ryan. Two days later, general manager Terry Fontenot, head coach Arthur Smith and most of the team’s offensive coaching staff went to Cincinnati to attend Ridder’s pro day.

“I didn’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, but I was like, ‘Man, if they’re going to get him, why not get a younger guy just like him (too)?’” Ridder said.

The comps don’t end there, though. Earlier that month at the NFL Scouting Combine, Ridder said he tries to model his game after Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (the player the Falcons unsuccessfully pursued before the Ryan trade) and Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (the player who supplanted Mariota as the Titans’ starter while Smith was the offensive coordinator in Tennessee).

“One, (Tannehill) is a great game manager. Two, his energy and passion that he brings to the game, I see a lot of similarities with that in myself. Three is leadership,” Ridder said at the combine. “He’s been able to bring teams together, and the longevity he’s had in the league. And four is the ability to extend plays. He does a great job of that.”

Ted Nguyen sees all of that, and maybe some Dak Prescott, too, in Ridder, although the Prescott comparison is not for a positive trait. Nguyen, a staff writer and video analyst for The Athletic, graded only one quarterback in this year’s draft class as a first-round prospect, and it was Ridder.

“Obviously, the Steelers didn’t agree,” Nguyen quipped.