The Falcons have a type when it comes to their pass catchers. The club loves big-bodied receivers that can threaten defenses after the catch as much as before.
Kyle Pitts is a generational talent and the highest-drafted tight end in history. He set franchise records and nearly broke Mike Ditka‘s all-time rookie receiver record for the position. And the Falcons followed it up with another freak athlete in Drake London.
The USC product was a two-sport athlete at the collegiate level and showcased that skill set in 2022. He broke Pitts’ rookie receptions record that was previously held by Julio Jones, and he’s primed to break out in 2023.
Pro Football Focus and Peter Schrager expect huge things from London next season. Following a rookie campaign that netted nearly 900 yards on 72 receptions, the former 8th overall pick is looking to continue to build a rapport with Desmond Ridder.
Across four games with Ridder throwing him passes, London caught 25 of 36 targets for 333 yards. The numbers with Marcus Mariota under center were noticeably different. In the other 13 games, London received 81 targets, hauling in 47 for 533 yards and four touchdowns.
It’s not just the talking heads that believe Drake London is in for an illustrious career. Veteran Scotty Miller compared him to his former teammate Mike Evans, the only receiver in league history to post nine straight 1,000+ yard seasons.
“Drake is sort of a similar guy to Mike,” he said, via Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “So I was talking to him about different things Mike did. And Mike’s obviously been in the league a long time and had a lot of success. So just try to kind of give him some things, some tools that Mike did to be successful. But I mean, he’s great in his own right, and all the other guys we have as well. So should be an exciting offense.”
Evans is a Hall of Fame talent, and for Miller to put them in the same conversation shows what London’s teammates see on a day-to-day basis. Expect the Falcons’ offense to be one of the most potent in the league, with London leading the passing attack.
Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire