Falcons found the best way to use Drake London in final games
Drake London, all things considered, had an impressive rookie season. He was the eighth-overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons last year and had to spend the entirety of his first season in a run-heavy offense. Plus, it didn’t help that he had Marcus Mariota throwing to him in all but four games.
It took the coaching staff a few months to figure out how to use him in the most efficient way but as they say, better late than never!
Falcons finally figured out that Drake London can feast as a slot receiver
Coming out of USC, Drake London was known as a physical specimen who was also versatile. USC routinely moved him to the slot—something the Falcons did not do for much of the season—and he was able to thrive there. Clearly, the Atlanta Falcons came into the 2022 season needing an ‘X’ receiver which London could clearly be, so it makes sense why they kept him there for the majority of the season.
They seemed to start experimenting with him around the time Desmond Ridder took over as the quarterback. From games 1 through 13 he only lined up in the slot on ten or more snaps in one game. During the final four games, he lined up inside 14 snaps, 8 snaps, 16 snaps, and 17 snaps, respectively.
It is no coincidence that his production became more steady when he was placed in the slot more consistently (part of which was also due to Ridder being the QB). He had 70+ yards in three of his final four games compared to three in the prior 13 games.
London’s catches-per-target ratio was also extremely high when targetted in the slot. In the final four games, he caught 11/11 of his targets from the slot for 156 yards. Throughout the season, he only had five targets that he didn’t catch when lined up there.
Needless to say, you should expect to see Drake London lined up as the ‘Y’ receiver next season, especially if the team is able to bring in a receiver or two who can produce as an outside receiver.