The Falcons kicked off the second draft of the new regime’s tenure by selecting USC’s Drake London with the eighth overall pick. Even though I was quite outspoken on Atlanta passing on a wideout in the first round, I think London will be a stud.
He’s a big-bodied receiver that worked the boundary in 2021 but also has experience in the slot, where he played primarily in 2020. London was a two-sport athlete at USC, and it shows. His ability to use his length and make contested catches is second to none in this class. The former Trojan is a bit deceptive, given his size. London has no issues running the entire route tree — his length allows him to threaten deep, and he has just enough wiggle to throttle down.
New Falcons WR Drake London in #ReceptionPerception:
– Led all prospects in contested catch rate (duh)
– Absolutely dominated zone coverage underneath
– His 72.8% success rate vs man coverage similar to 2019 Ja’Marr Chase (73.2%)
– Inside/outside abilityhttps://t.co/GfNv9itQz8 pic.twitter.com/yvxsH6p4cZ
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) April 29, 2022
As you can see, London is extremely effective against zone coverage, given his spatial awareness, as well as man coverage because of his remarkable combination of size and athleticism. However, his most desirable attribute has to be his ability to create yards after the catch. He resembles Cordarrelle Patterson in the aspect that he fights for every yard like a running back would.
Many have compared him to Mike Evans, and I think most Falcons fans would be ecstatic if he turned out to put up eight-straight 1,000+ yard seasons. In a post-draft interview with the Falcons’ Kris Rhim, the 20-year-old told the insider if he had to describe his playstyle in one word, it would be ‘fearless.’ He’s a prototypical X receiver, and Falcons fans are going to love having him in Atlanta.
“I’m ready to be a Dirty Bird.” pic.twitter.com/mq1jGcwxCq
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 29, 2022
Photographer: Jeff Speer/Icon Sportswire