Atlanta Falcons make surprise selection with the 8th pick in the draft
By Nick Halden
The Atlanta Falcons headed into tonight’s draft with little idea of what direction they would be forced to go and still managed to make the wrong decision. With the teams in front of them, all question marks Atlanta had little idea who could fall their way. The first surprise of the draft was the Houston Texans taking Derek Stingley Jr. with the third overall pick. A player that was expected to be on the board when Atlanta’s number was called.
The Falcons made the next truly surprising move of the draft, selecting wide receiver Drake London from USC. The move was questionable at best when you consider the other receivers on the board and the day two options at the position.
The 8th overall pick wasn’t the right time to address the receiver position despite London’s frame and skill level. With that said, London will walk into Atlanta as the unquestioned first option at the receiver position. His size and speed will give Marcus Mariota a much-needed option at the receiver position.
Drake coming in as the instant number one option speaks more to the lack of talent and depth Atlanta has at the position and less to London’s talent. Drake London was the wrong pick at the wrong time, Jordan Davis, Jameson Williams, Malik Willis, and Kyle Hamilton all should have been higher on Atlanta’s draft board and would have been better picks than London.
This pick does little to quiet what has been a very bumpy off-season for the Falcons. From chasing Deshaun Watson to parting ways with Matt Ryan the team’s decision-making has been questionable at best this off-season.
Over drafting Drake London is a mistake that Atlanta will be paying for in the years to come. The Falcons would have been far better served to chase Skyy Moore, George Pickens, or John Metchie all of whom are expected to be drafted on day two.
Drake London is an exciting prospect but not the right fit for a team that needs to be focused on building the defense and fixing their obvious issues in the trenches. It will be hard to utilize London properly when Atlanta’s quarterback is under pressure from the moment the ball is snapped. To turn the franchise around Atlanta must rebuild the defense, fix the offensive line, and find their quarterback of the future. There will always be star receivers in the draft or free agency, it is one of the easiest positions to fix in this league, one Atlanta wasted their first-round pick in an attempt to address.