NEXT ON OUR SCOUTING REPORTS IS DRAKE LONDON. CHECK OUT SOME OF OUR OTHER SCOUTING REPORTS BELOW
- Height: 6’5
- Weight: 210 lbs
- College: USC
- Year: Junior
- Position: Wide Receiver
There are several skills to look for in a wide receiver. At the top of that skills shopping list though, has to be the ability to go up and catch the ball, often in contested situations. Look no further. USC’s Drake London is at the top of the pile in terms of being one of the best pass-catching prospects coming out of College Football this year.
London’s upbringing was heavily ground in all things California. During his high school days at Moorpark, he was noted as a talented basketball player and this dual sport background can be seen in his athletic ability. particularly his salmon-like leap at the catch point.
He graduated as a 4* prospect and was inundated with offers from across the country. However, Drake London had grown up in a USC-supporting family and he was fulfilling a dream to become a Trojan.
A solid, if unspectacular, first two years has now been eclipsed by a transformational 2021 season (over 1000 yards, 7TDs). which was unfortunately cut short by injury on Halloween. Will his recent eye-catching form have done enough to put him in the conversation on day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft?
Watch the video below which shows Drake London’s ball skills and yards after the cqtch ability.
- Contested catch
- Awareness of space
- Yards After Catch
Drake London’s first advantage at wide receiver is obvious whenever he sets foot on the field. His height at 6’5, and therefore reach, make him a excellent target for the quarterback. He demonstrates an ability to use his size to bring physicality to his game. not only as a receiver but also as a very willing and able blocker in the run game. London uses his physical attributes, rather than speed, to add yards after catch. He is a dominant figure for the opposing secondary to attempt to bring to the ground.
Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of London’s traits is his afore-mentioned leap. Combine this with his long arms and his excellent catching skills and it becomes almost unfair to call these situations contested catches. There is almost no contest, it is not a 50/50 ball. London’s USC quarterback, Kedon Slovis, has called him “a quarterback’s best friend”. Throwing the ball generally in London’s direction will often result in a completion. Giving a quarterback every excuse to hang a ball up for grabs (not normally a safe play).
For a receiver of this size, Drake London is still a fluid mover on the field with the ability change direction with relative ease. This ability to glide coupled with a high football IQ allows London to find space and create separation. His awareness of the optimal areas to move into maximise his availability as an open receiver.
- Long Speed
London possesses a vast array of skills as a receiver, but he is not straight-line quick. As mentioned, he is able to create separation using his knowledge of the game and to contest catches using his size. He will not be leaving cornerbacks in his wake using speed.
This should not hamper him to a great degree given his strengths. However, in the NFL with a higher quality of cornerback, he could find difficulty if he gets jammed at the line of scrimmage. If so, this lack of quickness will impact his ability to get away.
Unfortunately, in the middle of his 2021 season when he was absolutely flying for USC, Drake London fractured his right ankle versus the Arizona Wildcats. He is out for the rest of the season. It is unknown at present how much pre-Draft preparation he will be able to achieve.
His highlight reel will already stand him in good stead. But, NFL teams are probably going to want to see some reassurance, medical and performance-wise, in order to confirm their grading.
Drake London was on course to be in the conversation for first wide receiver off the board prior to his injury. He had benefitted greatly this season moving from his previous predominantly slot position. Drake London’s production soared as he took on greater responsibility on the outside. he is the premier contested-catch receiver ahead of the 2022 Draft.
It will, however, need an offensive coordinator to use London in the right way. taking advantage of mis-matches to stack the contested catch situations in his favour. He could be an outstanding red-zone weapon and a nightmare match up for cornerbacks to compete with.
If he can recover from the ankle injury before next April, then Drake London can expect to hear his name called on opening night. Should any lingering concerns remain, he may become another great value day 2 wide receiver from USC following in the footsteps of Michael Pittman, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Robert Woods.
Feature Image Credit: DraftKings
Video Credit: Victors Valiant & Prince Highlights on YouTube