London had been nursing a knee injury since the start of the preseason and although he was limited all of this week, London didn’t miss a practice.
His return could be pivotal for a team that is in need of a pair of true wide receivers.
For inactives, the Falcons will be without wide receiver Damiere Byrd, running back Tyler Allgeier, outside linebacker DeAngelo Malone, inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski and offensive lineman Chuma Edoga.
London was filmed by ESPN’s Michael Rothstein running pregame routes where he appeared to look 100% healthy.
The Saints’ inactives include cornerback Paulson Adebo, running back Dwayne Washington, wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith, defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon and offensive lineman Wyatt Davis.
This means wide receiver Michael Thomas and safety Tyrann Mathieu will play.
Why the Falcons Drafted London as Their 1st-Round Pick
With so many holes to fill entering the 2022 NFL Draft, there were endless ways the Falcons could have gone with their first pick and they chose a wide receiver out of USC.
A few days following the draft, Falcons’ director of college scouting Anthony Robinson explained why the Falcons took London at No. 8 overall.
“He checked all the boxes that we look for,” Robinson said, via the Falcons’ team website. “There was nothing that was left on the table with him.”
“He has everything you want in a receiver,” Robinson continued. “Now, in terms of everything else, he has to put in the work, understand the scheme, pick up the offense, and you know, what we want him to do within the scheme. But I think this dude can be as good as he wants to be.”
In 27 games for the Trojans, London recorded 160 receptions for 2,153 yards and 15 touchdowns. He missed a portion of his final year but still managed 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games.
Falcons Week 1 Depth Chart vs. Saints
The Falcons made some roster moves ahead of Sunday’s matchup and released defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson, who was originally listed on the Falcons’ Week 1 roster, and then elevated tight end Anthony Fisker.
Below is the Falcons’ first official Week 1 depth chart of the season vs. the New Orleans Saints:
WR Drake London, Bryan Edwards, Jared Bernhardt
TE Kyle Pitts, Parker Hesse, Feleipe Franks
LT Jake Matthews, Chuma Edoga
LG Elijah Wilkinson
C Drew Dalman, Matt Hennessy
RG Chris Lindstrom, Colby Gossett
RT Kaleb McGary, Germain Ifedi
WR Olamide Zaccheaus, KhaDarel Hodge, Damiere Byrd
RB Cordarrelle Patterson, Damien Williams, Tyler Allgeier, Avery Williams
FB Keith Smith
QB Marcus Mariota, Desmond Ridder
DL Grady Jarrett, Timothy Horne
DL Anthony Rush
DL Ta’Quon Graham, Matt Dickerson
OLB Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Arnold Ebiketie, Quinton Bell
LB Mykal Walker, Troy Andersen, Nate Landman
LB Rashaan Evans, Nick Kwiatkoski
OLB Lorenzo Carter, DeAngelo Malone
CB A.J. Terrell, Mike Ford
S Richie Grant, Erik Harris
S Jaylinn Hawkins, Dean Marlowe
CB Casey Hayward Jr., Darren Hall, Dee Alford
K Younghoe Koo
P Bradley Pinion
LS Liam McCullough
H Bradley Pinion
PR Avery Williams
KOR Avery Williams
The Falcons also announced prior to kickoff that outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino will not be coaching due to “a personal matter.” Instead, defensive assistant Lanier Goethie will step into his role.