Drake London has a wide-open door to become the Falcons’ day one alpha-wide receiver. And when it comes to finding similar past and veteran players to try and project his success, London is in good company.
In The Wolf’s 2022 Dynasty Superflex Rookie Rankings, London and Breece Hall are in a tier of their own atop the ranks.
It’s harder to find someone who wouldn’t take Hall as the rookie 1.01 than it is to find Antonio Brown‘s next NFL team. But, what separates Drake London from the receiver pack?
A FITTING AND PROMISING COMPARISON
A top-10 NFL draft pick with outstanding size and strength to box out defenders, who can create late, subtle separation, makes contested grabs, tracks, and adjusts to throws, with strong hands, especially reliable on back-shoulder throws, and um…
…wait a minute, I’m reading a Mike Evans scouting report.
Not that any of those attributes don’t apply to Drake London. Really, it’s eerie how many parallels there are between the two.
One particular area is route-running. Both needed polish in that area coming out of college, and it’s a skill that can allow receivers to have great careers without having elite speed.
It’s promising that despite neither receiver having breakaway speed, Evans has been able to put together an NFL-record eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, with help from developed route-running during his time in the pros.
But, there’s still one more quality that the receivers share, which is unique in how it made them such high prospects coming out of college, and maybe even harder skill to coach than route-running.
THEIR LOVE FOR BASKETBALL AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO THEIR GAME
The decision to put basketball on the back burner to focus on football full-time wasn’t an easy one for Drake.
“It feels like a part of me has left. That was my first love,” London said. “I never really told anybody that, but [basketball] was my first love. That was the first ball that I picked up, the first sport that I started playing.”
Basketball was Mike Evans’ first love as well, and such in-depth experience having played basketball has contributed to Drake London’s ability to bring down passes at the high point, and become coveted for his contested-catch ability, again, not unlike Mike Evans.
“The ultimate respect for a wide receiver is when everyone knows the ball is going to him, yet the defense can’t stop it.”
That’s what Dane Brugler said about Drake in his 2022 NFL Draft Guide, and the sentiment is echoed throughout the fantasy industry.
Hopefully for the Atlanta Falcons, and everyone drafting him in the early first round of their dynasty rookie drafts, London’s contested-catch ability is a good thing.
Because for many college prospects, that prowess has turned out to be fools’ gold.
Fortunately, Drake does have factors that guys like N’Keal Harry, Jalen Reagor, and Denzel Mims didn’t.
FOR LONDON, ANY STREAK OF 1,000-YARD SEASONS MIGHT HAVE TO WAIT
Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder are not the ideal quarterback room you want to start your career with. But by comparison, Evans was still able to surpass 1,000 yards his rookie season catching passes from Josh McCown and Mike Glennon. Plus, with Calvin Ridley suspended for the entire 2022 season, London’s competition for targets really only comes from Kyle Pitts.
Drake barely breaks into WR3 territory playing for a Falcons franchise in transition, as he ranks WR36 (+4 vs ECR) on The Wolf’s 2022 Fantasy Rankings. However, The Wolf is buying the hype in dynasty. Drake London lands as the 38th best overall (+22 vs ECR) in our Superflex Dynasty Rankings — the WR14 (+6 vs ECR).