The NFL Draft is rapidly approaching and teams around the league are doing their homeworks on this year’s crop of prospects. As for the Atlanta Falcons, they hold the No. 8 overall selection and could go in a number of different directions.
Several prospects have been linked to Atlanta, including Liberty quarterback Malik Willis and Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Falcons have also shown interest in a handful of wide receiver prospects. Most notably USC’s Drake London. The team met with London curing the NFL Scouting Combine and with their glaring need at receiver, Atlanta could be eyeing the USC product with their eighth overall pick.
With Calvin Ridley’s looming season-long suspension, along with Russell Gage leaving in free agency, Atlanta has very little to work with at the wideout position right now. As it stands, the Falcons receiver depth chart looks something like this:
- Auden Tate
- KhaDarel Hodge
- Olamide Zaccheaus
- Damiere Byrd
- Frank Darby
- Chad Hansen
Atlanta is full rebuild mode this year. They have holes scattered throughout their roster. But receiver is arguably their biggest need at the moment. None of their current wideouts went over 500 receiving yards in 2021. Only one of them, Auden Tate, has gone over 500 receiving yards in a season during their careers.
Kyle Pitts serves as the defacto No. 1 receiver for Atlanta. Adding London on draft night would give Atlanta two legitimate offensive weapons to build their team around moving forward.
Despite playing in only eight games last season, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound receiver still led the nation in contested catches with 19, per Pro Football Focus. His contested catch rate of 67.9 percent was among the best in the country. Before breaking his ankle, London was on a record-setting pace in 2021, racking up 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns.
At eight overall, Atlanta should be prime position to take London come April 28. With their reported interest and clear need at wideout, don’t be shocked if the USC product ends up being the pick.