Atlanta Falcons’ Drake London stands out from Kyle Pitts in OTAs

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Few teams in the NFL boast a young duo of offensive position players with the size and athleticism of the Atlanta Falcons’ Kyle Pitts and Drake London. Pitts looked like a star tight end last season with over 1,000 yards in reception and a Pro Bowl nod, while London will add physicality and size on the outside at wide receiver. The Falcons are currently doing well on OTAs, and Pitts commented on London, Atlanta’s No. 8 first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

“Smooth, big. That he’s so big and fast and smooth is good for us,” Pitts said. “… He came [to ask for advice], but that stays between me and him. He’s a good guy.”

With Star Wide receiver Calvin Ridley Suspended for the 2022 season, Atlanta needed to find a young receiver early in the draft. As a three-year-old for the Trojans last season, London caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns — he was able to put up big numbers as a rookie as a potential No. 1 wide receiver for Atlanta. According to the draft, Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot uncovered what was noticed about London.

“Dress up any game. Find me a few times where he’s running out of bounds — because he’s not,” Fontenot said. via the team’s website. “He finishes the games. He bows his head. He’s tough and physical. Some guys are picky. He is all the time.”

One issue Atlanta had to deal with was the health of London. London suffered a broken ankle at the end of the season last fall and was unable to compete in the NFL Combine as he remained in rehab.

Typically, players who recover from broken bones can return to action in less than a year. So while London should still be able to have a productive rookie season, he admitted in a recent interview that the injury shook him at the time.

“I was so heartbroken just to see my whole career flash before my eyes” said London. “I knew this would be the last time I would play in the Coliseum, the last time I would wear this shirt, so it was a huge emotional moment for me.”

Fontenot said the Falcons felt very comfortable making London their first-round pick with a significant contract, having seen him in person during the preliminary draft process.

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“Because of the fact that he had the injury, we wanted to see how he moves and does different things,” Fontenot said. “We could just do it on our own, and that was very important.”

Will Backus and Matt Howe contributed to this report.