The Atlanta Falcons may not have grabbed a win against the Los Angeles Rams over the weekend, but rookie wide receiver Drake London walked away with a big milestone ... his first NFL touchdown.
London caught a team-high eight passes for 86 yards and a score in Sunday's loss to the Rams. London's efforts in the second half proved why head coach Arthur Smith and the Falcons front office took him with the No. 8 overall pick in April's NFL Draft.
“It’s why we took him," Smith said. We had a lot of conviction about the player. He's not perfect. There (are) things that we (got to) clean up with him, but if they're going to sit there and pack the middle, so focused on what’s on the run or (TE) Kyle (Pitts), and we move Kyle around, that's how we got the shot late and they grabbed him ... He's a big physical player. He'll continue to get better.”
Smith regarded that this was "absolutely" what the Falcons envisioned when drafting London. While Pitts has struggled, it has opened up opportunities for London to be the team's big vertical threat and it forces the opponent to choose between the lesser of two evils. NFL scouts became extremely aware of Pitts' strengths after he nearly broke the single-season record for receiving yards by a rookie tight end last season, which is why teams are paying more attention to him.
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But the wide receivers, who had major questions going into the season, have allowed the Falcons to still be productive on offense. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is happy about the progress the position group has made over the course of the season so far.
“That room has been awesome," Mariota said. "Drake, he’s (going to) continue to learn, he's (going to) continue to grow. He's done a great job for us and that being said, we got to continue to find ways to spread the ball around because I think we've got a great group.”
London and the rest of the Falcons' pass-catchers will look to stack another solid performance Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:25 p.m.
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