Falcons Rookie WR Projected to Make ‘Immediate Impact’ in 2022


Getty Head coach Arthur Smith of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons will face an uphill battle in 2022 as they continue to power through their rebuilding stage.

However, that doesn’t mean they won’t be competitive. The Falcons may not have, wall-to-wall, one of the strongest rosters in the league, but they do have enough special weapons in their lineup to win games.

Amongst these weapons in Atlanta is 2022 first-round pick wideout Drake London, according to Heavy’s Matt Lombardo.

In his latest mailbag, Lombardo dove into the question ‘which rookie do you think will have the most impact for their respective team in 2022?‘ and called out London:

“It’s hard to envision Drake London not following in Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Hollywood Brown, and Deebo Samuel’s footsteps, after landing with the Atlanta Falcons.

“London has the frame, 6-foot-4 and 209 pounds, combined with elite speed — he claims a 4.4 second 40-yard dash — to challenge Kyle Pitts as the favorite target for whoever winds up behind center for the Falcons.

Atlanta will field one of the least-talented rosters in the NFL, but London and Pitts should inherit the vast majority of targets in the passing game. In 2021, Pitts was only the second rookie tight end in league history to surpass 1,000 receiving yards, and London could eclipse even that level of production.”

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London Exited Atlanta’s Preseason Opener Early

Atlanta played their first football game of the year against the Detroit Lions on Friday night. 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.

London was on the field for the first drive of the game but 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.

“Falcons HC Arthur Smith said he doesn’t necessarily anticipate WR Drake London being available this week but it is not a long-term thing,” ESPN’s Michael Rothstein reported after practice. He added that Smith said “anyone who is hurt right now he believes will be ready for reg season. Said he’s had a good camp & will assess if he returns in preseason”

The Falcons have two more preseason games this month against the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars before they face the New Orleans Saints in Week 1.

It’s unclear at the moment if we’ll get to see a real glimpse of London before the regular season or if the Falcons play it safe to keep him healthy for when it matters most.

Why the Falcons Drafted London

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.



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