Falcons: Is Drake London in for a monster sophomore year?

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After taking Bijan Robinson with the #8 pick in the draft, the Falcons quietly have one of the best skill position groups in football.

There isn’t a better running back room. Robinson is going to be a star, Tyler Allgeier just broke the Falcons rookie rushing record, and Cordarrelle Patterson is the best third running back in football. Robinson and Patterson are also legitimate receiving threats, while Avery Williams can also be used out of the backfield, who is a weapon with the ball in his hands.

The tight end room could also end up being the best in football. Kyle Pitts is coming off a down year, but nobody would be surprised if he were one of the best at his position in year three, and the Falcons also traded for Jonnu Smith this offseason, who had his best seasons under Arthur Smith in Tennessee.

Wide receiver is the only skill position group that leaves a lot to be desired, but they do have a legit #1 wide receiver in 2022 first-round pick Drake London, who Jordan Schultz of The Score believes could breakout in his sophomore season.

Drake London, Falcons

London’s a walking mismatch, and the towering 6-4, 213-pounder uses his basketball prowess – he was an All-State pick in high school who also suited up for the Trojans’ basketball team – to post up helpless corners in the end zone. As London continues to develop a rapport with Desmond Ridder, we can assume he’ll expand on what was a solid rookie year (72-866-4), which was even more impressive considering how much Atlanta loves to run the football. That’s the staple of head coach Arthur Smith. In fact, with Ridder under center, the Falcons ran it a league-high 32 times per game. With the uber-talented Bijan Robinson now in the fold, expect more of the same, with London and Kyle Pitts dominating on play-action and seam routes as a result. If the final third of London’s rookie year was any indication, the former top-10 pick and the first receiver drafted in 2022 is poised for a significant breakout in 2023; he racked up 428 receiving yards in Weeks 13-18, after all.

Schultz mentioned Drake London and Ridder building rapport, but they seemed to have a pretty connection last year. In four starts with Ridder under center, London had 25 catches for 333 yards. That would put him on pace for over 1,400 yards over a full season.

The Falcons are going to run the ball as much as any on the team, and Ridder has a lot more weapons at his disposal than he did in his four starts last season. That should result in London’s target share dropping, but at the same time, the opportunity for mismatches will be much more prevalent. Look for the second-year wide receiver to have a monster season, especially if Ridder can prove to be a competent starting quarterback.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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