Drake London - WR - USC
Drake London is one of the most exciting wide receivers in this year’s draft class and it’s not hard to see why. He was projected by many as the WR1 of the 2022 draft, however, after a fractured ankle, this came to a sudden stop and has seen him slip a little further down draft boards. He’ll still more than likely be a late-round 1 pick and provide excellent value. Possessing the size of a big body pass-catcher who can dominate jump balls whilst also being elusive like you would typically see from smaller receivers makes him a real threat in the open field, the ultimate dual-threat receiver. Drake was the winner of the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2021.
Height: 6′ 4″
Weight: 219 lbs
40-yard dash: DNP
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
London was a four-star recruit out of high school and was ranked as the 35th best wide receiver in the 2019 recruiting class with USC going all-in on California-born wide receiver.
London’s first two years were solid but far from spectacular. In his freshman year, he made a quick impact by putting up 567 yards and 5TDs and in his sophomore year he managed just six games and racked up 502 yards and 3TDs. In 2020 London was honored in the second-team All-Pac 12.
In 2021 Drake London was moving up projected draft boards on a weekly basis until he got injured on Halloween on a touchdown catch that saw him carted off the field. In just 8 games he dominated putting up a record-setting 1084 yards and 7 scores in the end zone. Even after his season-ending injury London was shortlisted as a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award as one of the top 10 receivers and won the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.
London in his past season made college football look all too easy and was in a league of his own until the injury, dominant throughout his 8 games. He is often used on deep routes and will get separation down the side or over the middle on cross routes by extending his arms rather than just relying on speed. He’s second to none in this year’s receiving class for winning the contested deep balls and regularly beats double coverage.
London is the perfect size for the NFL and will make an instant impact in the league, he will dominate against smaller corners. Whilst he’s not a speedster he does show great bursts of pace and will get into open space thanks to his great footballing IQ and vision of the game. Standing at 6’5 he is the quarterback’s main target due to his exceptional reach, elite-level catchability and he excels at securing the ball in traffic over the middle of the field.
London’s physicality and presence make him a more than reliable blocker in the run game and can easily chip blitzing linebackers on receiving routes. His upper-body strengths also make him a good downfield blocker and are more than willing to take on his man, opening a running lane at the next level.
Throughout his college career, he has often received plaudits for his athletic abilities. He shows great agility and an unexpected change of direction for someone so tall. London’s quick feet enable elite-level lateral agility and will make cuts with ease.
Whilst London is an elite-level athlete, he is far from a straight-line speedster and will not leave cornerbacks behind in his shadows. With the quality of NFL cornerbacks, this could be an area of concern.
The main area of concern is not London himself, it’s the injury that he suffered, fracturing his right ankle. As with all serious injuries you do often wonder if the player will be the same when he returns.
London tends to come off the snap high and upright and as much as he has good speed for a player of his size, he can’t get to top speed quick enough which stops him from becoming elusive.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 1
Drake London would be a great fit for the New Orleans Saints. With the Saints having Michael Thomas out for the year and having to rely on Marquez Callaway, Tre’Quan Smith, and Deonte Harris it’s hardly the most intimidating of NFL receiving corps. If the Saints have Jameis Winston as their QB spot next year he should find Drake London the perfect target as he carries much of the same skill set that we see from his former teammate Mike Evans.
The Cleveland Browns will be looking for a receiver since losing OBJ. Jarvis Landry is the clear WR1 and the slot guy for the Browns, London would be the perfect guy to play on the outside.
Post Draft Analysis
Atlanta Falcons- Round 1, Pick 8
This has to be one of the best landing spots for a rookie player in this year’s draft. Drake London will enter the Falcons’ offense as the clear number one wide receiver and alongside Kyle Pitts will be the main pass attack options for Mariota (and potentially Ridder).
I view London as a WR2 this year across all formats as the Falcons are in a rebuild mode. In dynasty league formats he offers great value and I’d draft him inside the top three in rookie drafts.