Probably the best part of this website is that we are graced by a lot of sharp regular commenters.
Recently I decided to start checking out a few college prospects. I watched one game of USC wide receiver Drake London. I was impressed by what I saw, but I was curious what others thought so I asked in the comments.
The following are some of the answers. I thought they were so insightful that I wanted to share.
Red G Green
I’ve only seen some highlights but he seems like a beast. If he has a good medical he should go really high. Big play making, chain moving, red zone target. He’s different than anything we have. I’m curious about his speed. He could make up for what we lack at TE a bit from the slot occasionally and give us major versatilty with CD and Moore.
Verticals and comebacks seem automatic with him. Great highpoint and physical to contest catches. Good feet for screens and YAC. Wanna see just how fast and fluid he runs things like the shuttle and 3 cone to see how well he may develop the rest of his route tree.
Possession machine. Huge hands and wingspan which will help Wilson a lot. Not going to be an outside burner but 05/20 yrds he’s our guy. If his ankle checks out I think he would be a massive hole fill and maybe put less pressure on us to get an elite receiving TE.
I think he’s a halfway decent route runner for his size but his medicals are key. I’d also question why he had 88 catches on 124 targets. Is it him or the QB? I don’t see a top 10 guy and if his medicals check out I doubt he lasts until the 2nd.
I like London physically and athletically. I think he’s everything you want. He has a great wingspan to catch pretty much everything thrown his way. He has size to out physical anyone. His speed for his size is more than enough to make him a matchup nightmare for the majority of corners he’ll play against. Put that all together and it’s easy to see why he was able to dominate YAC and Contest Catch numbers.
If you’re building a draft board simply based off raw talent. London would have to be WR1.
However, his technical skills do need work. His drop rate was the worst among the first round graded WR, just edging out Jameson Williams. His route running is good, but not great. That might be fine for a receiver with his ahtletic profile, but it’s hard to know before we see him on an NFL field.
The thing that I think most people are going to overlook is that London is an exceedingly smart football player. That’s best seen against zone coverage where he has an absolutely astonishing 4.02 yards per route run. He tore apart zone coverage like nobody could believe. Garett Wilson was good against zone coverage, 3.05 yards per route run. London was a beast. The only way you can feast like that against zone is simply knowing where the weak points of a defense are.
I think at the end of the day, London has a very real chance to be the best WR to come out of this class, but I think it’ll take some development time. Where as someone like Wilson is going to come in prepared to play at a high level from Day 1, but may not do much more improving.
Of course, that’s ignoring London’s injury history which is long. He’s never played more than 8 games in a season.
A lot like a slightly taller and skinnier Mike Williams. Dominant contested catch guy, doesn’t need much separation, but injuries are the concern.
Reminds me of Michael Thomas. Head injuries scare me with a possession guy though, so I wouldn’t grab him till round 2 if at all.
The Ultimate Stapler
I like London as a player, but I have concerns, especially in the first round.
First, London plays the position like a power forward. Why is that important? He has had two concussions at USC, one in 2020 that kept him out a game, and one in 2021 that knocked him out of a game. And with some of these players, concussions are a death sentence to their careers. If he wasn’t such a physical receiver, I wouldn’t be so concerned.
However, he is a very good player, that needs next to zero separation to make the catch, and does a good job of it. London also has a Plaxico Burress type wingspan, so you just have to throw it close to him, and he is good at contested catches. Plus he has a good frame and very nice height.
Again, the ankle injury isn’t a concern, although it was a similar injury to Quandre Digg’s ankle seperation, and everyone hates the idea of bringing him here because he is damaged goods.
The concern is with the concussions, and is this going to be an ongoing thing. Jets have enough players with injuries, why bring in another first round pick who can’t stay healthy for 17 games?
I’m viewing him as the somewhat risky Home Run pick, as opposed to someone like Garrett Wilson’s more reliable production potential.
Basically, I’m pretty sure Wilson is a strong 2/weak 1. London has a much higher ceiling and isn’t raw to the point of being a project, but also has more risk associated with him.
If we trade into the second half of round 1, London should *absolutely* be a target if we haven’t gone WR yet.
I enjoyed this analysis so much that I’m considering making this an ongoing series. This website is full of my own thoughts, but I’m always interested to hear yours.