Arthur Smith Gets Candid on Why Falcons Drafted Drake London


Getty Drake London of the Atlanta Falcons.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith isn’t one to throw out compliments, but it’s hard for him to overlook the raw talent and that’s what rookie wide receiver Drake London has.

Many fans and critics were thrown off when Atlanta drafted London with their first pick at No. 8 overall in this year’s draft, but the Smith and Terry Fontenot knew what they were doing.

“We saw certain characteristics,” Smith said during a press conference on November 2, via Ashton Edmunds of “That was part of the mindset that I liked about Drake other than the obvious. I always think the easiest part, when you look at it – all of us in here can look and see if somebody’s fast and whether they can catch – those are the easy ones. It’s the other stuff, the fit, some of its luck. You may really like a player. Loved Justin Herbert, but had no chance in hell to get him, or whatever it is, and a lot of times, it’s about fit with a little bit of luck in the draft.”

As the Falcons’ No. 1 receiver, London currently leads the group with 407 yards on 38 receptions, for an average of 10.71 yards a catch, and three touchdowns.

London Shines in a Run-Heavy Offense

In case you haven’t noticed, the Falcons run the ball––a lot. That’s in part due to the quarterback style and the offensive line’s lack of pass protection.

Nonetheless, Drake has continued to shine, whether it’s his ability to block or catch a pass and his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

“At the end, I really believe that he helps us be successful,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said, via the team’s official website. “but that’s a credit to who he is and the kind of character he has.”

The Falcons could have gone several ways at No. 8 overall. But their London pick has worked out heavily in their favor thus far.

“With somebody like Drake, there are a lot of characteristics that we liked. The skillset we thought was unique,” Smith said. “That doesn’t mean there weren’t other really good receivers there. He was just a good fit for us, and you’re starting to see that. He’s got a bright future if he can stay on this path. If we keep stacking wins, all of that stuff will take care of itself.”

Arthur Smith speaks on roster changes and preparing against the Chargers | Atlanta Falcons | NFLArthur Smith speaks to media about the current roster changes and getting prepared for the Los Angeles Chargers. Subscribe to the Atlanta Falcons YouTube Channel: #AtlantaFalcons #RiseUp #NFL #Falcons Download the Falcons app for breaking news, instant updates, and live streaming games: For more Falcons action: Like us on Facebook: Follow…2022-11-02T18:27:58Z

Is Marcus Mariota Holding Back London’s Full Potential?

Earlier this season, NFL insider Jordan Schultz claimed that the Falcons had found their Julio Jones 2.0 in London after a solid Week 1 and Week 2 debut.

“Drake London, the first-round pick out of USC, is absolutely sensational,” Schultz said in a TikTok video. “How good has he been? Through two games, London is on pace for 110 catches, 1360 yards and eight touchdowns. Those are All-Pro type numbers.”

During his Week 2 outing against the LA Rams, London logged 8 receptions for 86 yards and the first touchdown of his career, making him the first NFL rookie to record at least five receptions and 70 yards in through first two games since 2015, when Stefon Diggs pulled it off.

Jones, who was drafted sixth overall in 2011, finished his first NFL season with 54 catches for 959 yards and eight scores.

London’s production could come close to that but it won’t be easy in this run-heavy offense, especially considering he scored his first touchdown in seven weeks in the team’s loss to the Panthers on Thursday.

For now, the Falcons will continue to roll with Marcus Mariota at QB1 but we could see a change if Mariota can’t figure out the passing game.



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