There were many ways the Atlanta Falcons could have gone with their eighth-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft but they ended up turning to USC wide receiver Drake London.
And the Southern Cal standout has been receiving a lot of hype this offseason, including that from former Heisman winner and Super Bowl MVP, Desmond Howard.
Howard spoke to Heavy’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo on behalf of Town House and raved about the Falcons’ new rookie wideout, comparing him to Mikes Evans.
“Drake London is more like a Mike Evans type wide receiver. Howard said. “He’s in that mode. I think he’s going to be a beast. He’s like Mike Evans, big, strong, can possess the football really well, he’s great on 50/50 balls, and can get vertical, too. He’s not the fastest guy, he’s not going to flat out out-run people, but he’ll get vertical. He’ll challenge a defense, because as long as the ball’s in the air, he has an incredible vertical leap and great hand-eye coordination.”
Howard added that London being a multi-sport athlete in college should benefit him greatly in the NFL.
“Drake London was also a hell of a basketball player, this guy could hoop,” he said. “He has crazy hops, great coordination, excellent footwork. For a guy his size, he has really good footwork.”
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London Exited the Falcons’ Preseason Opener Early
The Falcons played their first football game of the year against the Detroit Lions on Friday, August 12.
While some may just look at it as a preseason game, it’s a chance to see what the rookies and lower-depth players can do, thus many were excited to finally get to see what London could do.
However, was on the field for just the first drive of the game and didn’t make it past that as he left the game early with a knee injury.
Following the Falcons’ 27-23 win over Detroit, multiple reports said the injury was “not serious.”
Head coach Arthur Smith couldn’t provide any update then, but he did give one on Sunday, August 14, saying London’s injury wasn’t long-term.
London was also sidelined for the Falcons’ next two exhibition games.
Smith gave another update on Wednesday, August 31 saying that he “feels good” about London but wasn’t going to make a “Week 1 prediction” on his status.
London Had a Solid Performance During Training Camp
In his final year with the Trojans, London logged 88 receptions for 1,084 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in just eight games before sustaining an ankle injury that kept him sidelined for the remainder of the season.
But he looked back to his old self again and made some big plays at camp.
And his efforts also didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.
“He’s a subtle, stay-out-of-the-way type of guy, and I respect that. On the field, man, he really pops out at you,” said veteran wide receiver Bryan Edwards at the start of camp, via AtlantaFalcons.com. “He moves really well in and out of breaks for a bigger receiver. He’s very shifty. He kind of reminds me of a shiftier version of Mike Evans down there in Tampa Bay. Much respect to that kid. I can’t wait to see him grow and blossom into the great player I know he’s going to be.”