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No 'Big Difference' Between Falcons WR Drake London and Colts 2nd-Rounder, Says ESPN

Is there a gap in ability between London and Alec Pierce?

How big is the difference between Atlanta Falcons first-round receiver Drake London and Indianapolis Colts second-round receiver Alec Pierce?

On paper, London and Pierce, a teammate of Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder at Cincinnati, have a lot in common; they're both big pass-catchers with ball skills and the ability to play above the rim, leading to them being their teams' first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

These similarities have led ESPN analyst Greg Cosell to state that he "did not see a big difference" between London and Pierce after watching the two on film. 

Cosell's statement largely centers around a heightened belief in Pierce rather than a lack of faith in London. "(Pierce is) an unbelievable athlete. I really like Alec Pierce a lot," Cosell said. "I think (the Colts') plan is, barring anything unforeseen, that he's going to be a starter for them from day one."

While the two share similar attributes, the fact of the matter is that London went No. 8 overall and sparked a significant run on receivers, a wave that didn't include Pierce, whom Indianapolis selected No. 53 overall.

The 45-pick difference in draft slot speaks volumes as to how the NFL viewed Pierce in relation to London, a consensus first-round prospect. 

It's not just the sheer number of total picks, but also the total of receivers who went between the pair. London, the first receiver off the board, Pierce, the 12th. 

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No teams view every single player in the same light, but the fact that 10 receiver-needy teams passed on Pierce after the Falcons selected London reveals a telling story as to how each player was valued inside league circles.

Comparing scouting reports on London and Pierce, it's clear the two share similar skill sets, in terms of both strengths and weaknesses. They were two of the best jump ball receivers in the 2022 class, showcasing some of the best body control among all wideouts. However, both will enter the NFL with questions about drops.

The biggest difference between London and Pierce is distinguishing good versus great. Alec Pierce is a good football player; it's why he was a top-60 pick. He's big (6-3, 208), athletic, smart, competitive and fast; he's likely even faster than London.

Still, London's bigger at 6-4, 219. He's athletic enough to do 540-degree dunks on the basketball court en route to receiving high Division 1 offers. He works blind spots in coverage as well as anybody and was one of the most physical players in his class after the catch.

Pierce is a very talented receiver who's likely just scratching the surface of what he'll become. London, too, as he's been focused solely on football for approximately 18 months. Both have the talent to be legitimate impact players on Sundays.

So, again, how big is the difference between London and Pierce? 

The correct answer is 45 picks, 10 of which at the same position, and the simple margin between entering the NFL as "good" versus "great."