The Atlanta Falcons came into the 2022 NFL Draft with some major needs. It will take more than one draft to address all of their needs, but they filled one of their biggest needs when they selected USC wide receiver Drake London, with the eighth overall pick.
A wide receiver was a huge need for the Falcons, especially with Calvin Ridley suspended for at least the 2022 season. That left Olamide Zaccheaus atop the depth chart with Damiere Byrd and KhaDarel Hodge, so London will have a chance to make an immediate impact on the field.
Atlanta now has two excellent building block pass catchers in London joining tight end Kyle Pitts, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. London will be relied upon to fill a big role in the offense from Day 1.
Here are three bold predictions for London during his rookie season with the Falcons.
3. Overcomes Ankle Injury
Drake London didn’t play more than eight games in a single season during his collegiate career. He played eight in his freshman and junior seasons, which sandwiched a six-game season in 2020. His excellent 2021 season was cut short by an ankle injury.
Despite the injury, London still won the PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year award. That production will carry over to the NFL, but London will also be able to stay healthy at the start of his career in Atlanta.
London will play in double-digit games for the first time in years, playing at least 14 games in his rookie season.
2. Finishes Top-10 In Contested Catches
London is going to present a difficult matchup for opponents. He stands 6’5” and weighs 210 pounds so he will be tough to slow down. That is elite size and he will put that to use right away in the NFL.
Last season with the Trojans, London had a 68 percent catch rate in contested catch situations, which is very impressive. That will be one skill that translates right away at the next level as some cornerbacks will not be able to compete with him.
He will continue succeeding in those situations for the Falcons, finishing in the top-10 of the NFL as a rookie in contested catches. London will catch at least 20 contested catches, converting over half of his attempts.
1. Leads Falcons In Receiving Yards
The Atlanta Falcons are lacking many high-end receiver weapons. London will be involved as the No. 1 receiver, being targeted early and often in his career. That will lead to plenty of opportunities to produce big numbers and he will.
Drake London will lead Atlanta in receiving yards, catching 65 passes for 950 yards. He will finish just ahead of Kyle Pitts, who will finish with just about 900 yards on the season. The USC product will become an instant impact player in the red zone as well, catching eight touchdowns that will also pace the Falcons during the 2022 season.