The 2023 Falcons feature a number of breakout candidates. Much of the 2021 and 2022 draft classes could burst on to the scene. Arnold Ebiketie, DeAngelo Malone, Richie Grant, Drew Dalman, and Ta’Quon Graham are the names that come to mind immediately.
Drake London isn’t the first player that comes to me because he enjoyed so much success as a rookie, but the former 8th overall pick made Peter Schrager’s top breakout wide receivers of 2023:
- Jets WR Garrett Wilson
- Saints WR Chris Olave
- Falcons WR Drake London
- Chiefs WR Justyn Ross
- Patriots WR Tyquan Thorton
The Falcons receiving core isn’t traditionally built. Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith, Bijan Robinson, and Cordarrelle Patterson could log more targets than Mack Hollins and Scott Miller; however, there’s no questioning the status of Drake London.
The USC product quickly built a rapport with Desmond Ridder in 2022 and will look to continue his growth this season.
Across four games with Ridder, London was targeted 36 times, catching 25 of them for 333 yards, 13.32 yards per catch — a 69.4% catch percentage. The numbers with Marcus Mariota under center were noticeably different.
In 13 games with Mariota, London received 81 targets, hauling in 47 for 533 yards and four touchdowns, good for 11.34 yards per reception — a 58.7% catch percentage.
London had a 19% off target rate last year, which was the fifth-highest among all pass catchers last year. And you’d expect that figure to be higher had Mariota not been benched.
Drake London was also the only worthwhile target when Ridder got his chance with Kyle Pitts on the injured reserve, so teams were able to key in on him. Now, with Pitts back in the fold as well as Cordarrelle Patterson, Bijan Robinson, and Jonnu Smith, London is primed to have more one-on-one opportunities.
2023 is going to be a big year for Drake London.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire