Thu, 26 May 2022

Falcons ink No. 8 overall pick, Drake London

Atlanta Falcons
13 May 2022, 18:57 GMT+10

London's signing ushers in a new era of wide receiver talent in Atlanta.  Tori McElhaney

The Falcons have signed Drake London, the organization announced on Thursday afternoon. London was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

London's rookie deal is estimated to have a total value of $24.66 million, according to OverTheCap.com. The rookie receiver will carry a 2022 cap hit of $4.48 million. That cap hit will rise by about one million dollars over the course of the next four years. WSB-TV's Zach Klein reported the total value of the deal was "a little over $21.5 million."

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It is the expectation that without Calvin Ridley or Russell Gage, London will be WR1 in Atlanta. He joins a receiver room that includes Auden Tate, Olamide Zaccheaus, KhaDarel Hodge and Frank Darby. More so, London joins an offense with other receiving weapons like Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson.

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London fits the mold of what Arthur Smith was looking for this offseason. The head coach and offensive play caller needed a receiver who could wrack up some significant yards after contact. London is exactly that, with The Athletic's Dane Brugler writing in his 2022 NFL Draft Guide that "college defensive backs didn't want to tackle him" and "he provides YAC skills thanks to his toughness and ability to stay afloat."

In college, London's sheer size created matchup problems for opposing defenses. More so, his movements are smooth, and his basketball background serves him well on the move and in the air. Coaches and teammates have said his work ethic, particularly in practice, is unmatched. All of that goes along with a solid chunk of production, too.

Through three seasons at USC, London recorded 160 receptions for 2,153 yards and 15 touchdowns through 27 games. Despite missing the final four games of the 2021 season, London tallied 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games. He earned All-American status and all-conference honors along with being named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.

The Falcons have locked in their top true receiving weapon. Let's see what he does in Year 1.

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