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Drake London sets Falcons rookie reception record

Atlanta’s offense has its share of promising young players on offense, but London still manages to stand out.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons 48Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Drake London got off to a hot start in 2022 before becoming a relative non-factor, going from putting up 50-plus yards in each of his first three games to not even posting over 40 in his next nine games. He did remain a consistent target for Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder despite that, however, and that production and a very hot streak over the final four games with Ridder under center have helped him set a rookie record for Atlanta.

Despite quarterback changes—and sometimes shaky play along the way—London finished the year as the team’s leading receiver and showed off his immense potential along the way. He also set a record rookie for receptions, surpassing Kyle Pitts (68) in this one and finishing with 72 catches on the season. His 866 yards and four touchdowns aren’t rookie records, but they are damn fine marks for a team that wasn’t all that great at passing the ball this past season.

London’s excellence at winning contested catches and his ability to fight for extra yards were both welcome for this offense, and aside from a bit of a fumbling problem that led to real frustration this year, he was mostly excellent as the top receiver for Atlanta. His big-time chemistry with Ridder—25 of his 72 catches, 308 of his 766 yards in the final four games—bodes well if they’re both starters a year from now, but London has all the characteristics of an elite receiver no matter who winds up throwing him the ball. With Kyle Pitts back on the field in 2023, it’s possible to dream big (or at least bigger, let’s be reasonable) about this passing attack at last.

Congratulations to London on the mark, and like fellow rookie record-setter Tyler Allgeier, may this just be the beginning for a bright career in Atlanta.