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NFL Draft

Drake London Has Solidified Himself As Legit NFL Prospect

  • The Draft Network
  • October 6, 2021
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Analysts around the country pegged USC as a dark horse team to contend for the Pac-12 title before the season. They were returning a talented roster with a handful of future NFL players, including quarterback Kedon Slovis, who some believed had the potential to be an early-round draft pick. Well, the season hasn’t quite gone as planned. 

Head coach Clay Helton was fired after being embarrassed at home by Stanford, Slovis’ play has been somewhat inconsistent, and Drake Jackson had only one sack until he earned two against lowly Colorado. However, if there’s one player who is exceeding expectations, it’s their top wide receiver. If you haven’t heard of him, his name is Drake London.

London came to USC as a two-sport high school star from the nearby city of Moorpark. In high school, he excelled on the basketball court. He averaged 29.2 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 3.8 assists as a senior on his way to being named to the All-CIF team. He came to USC with the intent of playing two sports. He enjoyed one year on the basketball team but decided to focus solely on football and the football program is better because of it. 

London performed well in an abbreviated season in 2020. Starting all six games, he had 33 catches for 502 yards (a 15-yard average) and three touchdowns. That was good enough to earn him second-team All-Pac-12 honors. However, he has been an absolute monster in 2021. 

As it stands today, he has 48 catches for 670 yards (14 ypc) and four touchdowns. Against Washington State, he was a matchup nightmare for their secondary. He had 13 catches for 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns plus a handful of critical plays in the game. He currently leads the nation in both catches and yardage. 

What may be as impressive as what he’s doing is how he’s getting it done. As a junior, he was used primarily in the slot while Michael Pittman Jr. and Amon-Ra St. Brown were used predominantly outside. This raised questions for some evaluators. However, in 2021, he is being moved around, has played outside, and is Slovis’ primary target whenever the offense needs a critical first down. London’s ability to win 50-50 balls and make really tough catches with his outstanding catch radius and hands were never in question. However, he has proven that he can defeat press outside, he can threaten a defense vertically, and can win consistently in slant/back shoulder fade situations in the red zone. He is extremely competitive at the catch point and demonstrates excellent hand/eye coordination in contested-catch situations. However, there are still questions about his vertical play speed and his ability to uncover against man coverage in the intermediate area.

What is evident is his outstanding ability as a big-play receiver. He has thrust himself into contention to be picked on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft. His agility and movement skills during testing will be indicative of several things. I anticipate that offensive coordinators are creative enough to find what he does best and put him in situations that are advantageous to both the offense and himself.

London is no longer a player with “potential.” He is a solidified legitimate NFL-caliber receiver. I’m looking forward to watching his performance for the rest of the season as the focal point of that offense. Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the Drake London show. I hope you’ve got your popcorn ready.

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