The Falcons have selected three players in the last two draft cycles that have gone on to break franchise records. Kyle Pitts set a bevy of records, nearly eclipsing Mike Ditka‘s all-time rookie receiving record for a tight end. Drake London went on to break Pitts’ reception mark a season later. More impressively, Tyler Allgeier, a fifth-rounder, broke Atlanta’s all-time rookie rushing record without being the featured back for much of the season.
So, it’s no surprise the pair of Atlanta’s 2022 draft picks made PFF’s NFL All-Rookie Team, done by Michael Renner:
RB TYLER ALLGEIER, ATLANTA FALCONS
Kenneth Walker III ran for more yards and Dameon Pierce broke more tackles, but Allgeier ran away with it from a grading perspective. He was efficient when called upon, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, while his 3.58 yards after contact per carry ranked seventh among 60 qualifying running backs over the regular season. He’s a perfect fit for Arthur Smith’s run game.
WR DRAKE LONDON, ATLANTA FALCONS
London looks like another perfect fit for Arthur Smith’s offense. He made a ton of tough catches, going 14-of-26 (53.3%) in contested situations this season. He finished with 72 catches for 866 yards and showed a rapport with QB Desmond Ridder late in the season, posting a career-high 120 yards in Week 18.
The most coveted rookie runners of the 2022 campaign by the national media outlets were Kenneth Walker and Dameon Pierce, but Allgeier deserves to be mentioned right with them. Just look at their numbers:
Dameon Pierce, Hoston Texans
Stats: 220 carries, 939 rushing yards, 30 catches, 165 receiving yards, 5 total TDs
Kenneth Walker III, Seattle Seahawks
Stats: 228 carries, 1,050 rushing yards, 27 catches, 165 receiving yards, 9 total TDs
Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta Falcons
Stats: 210 carries, 1,035 rushing yards, 16 catches, 139 receiving yards, 4 total TDs
Pierce totaled 1,104 yards from scrimmage on 250 total touches; Walker totaled 1,215 yards from scrimmage on 255 touches; Allgeier put up 1,174 on 226 touches — 4.42 and 4.67 yards per touch compared to Allgeier’s 5.19 yards per touch. No first-year running back was as efficient as Allgeier. If he received the workload of Walker, he would’ve challenged for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
London is looking to parlay a successful first season into a monster sophomore season. What’s most impressive about his 2022 campaign is who was throwing him passes for a large portion of the season. The former No. 8 overall pick’s production exponentially improved once the Falcons decided to turn away from Marcus Mariota.
In 13 games with the veteran throwing him passes, London received 81 targets, hauling in 47 for 533 yards and four touchdowns, good for 11.34 yards per reception. With Desmond Ridder, London was targeted 36 times, catching 25 of them for 333 yards, 13.32 yards per catch.
On average, he received six targets per game with Mariota as quarterback compared to nine targets with Ridder under center. Moreover, London had a 69.4% catch percentage with Ridder, compared to 58.7% with Mariota.
In every metric, London’s connection with Ridder was much stronger than the one he had with Mariota. The Cincinnati product isn’t the shoo-in starter for the 2023 season, but it seems to be trending in that direction, which should put a smile on Drake London’s face. The two have a growing rapport that could be a staple of Atlanta’s offense for years to come.
The Falcons new regime has missed on some draft picks but has also hit some home runs. NFL general managers never bat 1.000; it’s all about minimizing mistakes, and it seems Terry Fontenot has a knack for finding talent.
You must log in to post a comment.