The Atlanta Falcons began the 2022 campaign with little to no expectations outside the building. Many projected the team to finish with one of the worst records in football, including USA Today’s projection of a No. 1 overall pick. Instead, Arthur Smith’s team established itself as one of the best rushing offenses in the league, remaining competitive in most contests. As we look forward to a pivotal offseason, I’ll continue my series where I review the Atlanta Falcons season by position, moving on to the wide receivers.
Atlanta Falcons 2022 season in review: Wide Receivers
The Falcons didn’t receive a ton of production from this group, but Arthur Smith’s run-heavy offense and lack of reliable quarterback play are more of an indictment than the play of the wideouts. Drake London has established himself as WR1, but there isn’t much behind him to get excited about. Olamide Zaccheaus was a reliable piece for Marcus Mariota. Still, he’s no WR2 in this league. And the depth falls off a cliff.
- Drake London stats: 117 targets, 72 receptions, 866 yards, 12.0 Y/R, 4 TDs
- Olamide Zaccheaus stats: 61 receptions, 40 receptions, 533 yards, 13.3 Y/R, 3 TDs
- Damiere Byrd stats: 23 targets, 13 receptions, 268 yards, 20.6 Y/R, 2 TDs
- KhaDarel Hodge stats: 20 targets, 13 receptions, 202 yards, 15.5 Y/R, 1 TDs
The next most impactful pass catcher at the position was Bryan Edwards, who hauled in just three targets this season. The Falcons get a ton of production in the pass game from other positions — Kyle Pitts (356 yards), MyCole Pruitt (150 yards, 4 TDs), Tyler Allgeier (139 yards), and Cordarrelle Patterson (122 yards).
London is an absolute menace when he has the ball in his hands. It’s obvious why the Falcons selected him. Arthur Smith’s system propelled AJ Brown and Corey Coleman into the upper echelon of pass catchers. Brown parlayed it into a lucrative contract extension, while Coleman hasn’t replicated that production. London is physical at the catch and even more challenging to bring down after, reminiscent of Brown.
I wouldn’t be against bringing Zaccheaus back at the right price, but it’s clear the offense needs another wideout opposite of London. It might not be as high of a priority as some other positions, but it’s a sneaky big need, especially for a young quarterback like Desmond Ridder.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire
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