NFL Draft 2022 Rumors: Falcons 'Love' WR Drake London, 'Like' QB Matt Corral

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 25, 2022

Southern California wide receiver Drake London (15) plays against Notre Dame in the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The Atlanta Falcons may continue laying the foundation for their offense in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft.

NBC Sports' Peter King projected the Falcons to select USC wide receiver Drake London with the No. 8 overall pick, describing London as "the receiver I hear they love."

King then had Atlanta trading back into the first round to take Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral at No. 32.

"This is all about a team, Atlanta, believing in a quarterback this year, and investing a chunk of draft capital in him that isn’t cost-prohibitive," he wrote. "I hear the Falcons like Corral."

London is the No. 1 wideout and third-best overall player on Bleacher Report's big board. The 6'3⅞" pass-catcher had 88 receptions for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games in 2021.

Even before he was suspended for betting on NFL games, Calvin Ridley was the subject of trade speculation. The uncertainty surrounding Ridley's availability—he's banned for at least the 2022 season—makes the receiver position perhaps the biggest area of need for the Falcons. Beyond tight end Kyle Pitts, there isn't much depth in the passing game.

King's report aligned with B/R's mock draft, which saw London linked with the Falcons. Nate Tice explained the choice:

"The Falcons have holes all over their roster and the Matt Ryan trade signals a new path for the franchise. USC's Drake London has basketball size (6'4", 219 lbs), inside-outside capabilities and outstanding catching range. He would provide the Falcons another potential mismatch in the passing game to pair with tight end Kyle Pitts that would give defenses headaches for years."

In Marcus Mariota, the franchise identified a short-term stopgap at quarterback in the wake of trading Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts. There isn't a long-term succession plan, though.

The Falcons have performed their due diligence with Corral.

Tori McElhaney @tori_mcelhaney

Matt Corral said the Falcons were the second team he had a formal interview with. Said Matt Ryan is someone he would want to be like one day: 10+ years with a team, franchise QB, stats to back up an arguably Hall of Fame career. Added he’d be crazy to not want to learn from Ryan.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Ole Miss QB Matt Corral is scheduled to visit next week with the Panthers, Eagles, Steelers, Saints and Falcons, per source.

Corral didn't raise his game to a different level in 2021 as some had hoped. He threw for 3,349 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions with a 67.9 completion percentage and ran for 614 yards and 11 scores.

The ankle injury he suffered in the Sugar Bowl prevented him from working out at the NFL Scouting Combine, though he did take part in the Ole Miss pro day.

B/R NFL scout Nate Tice compared Corral to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley and called him "an intriguing backup for NFL teams with his athleticism and accuracy to start his career."

Atlanta would be a good landing spot for Corral. The Falcons still figure to be in a state of transition in 2022, and the presence of Mariota would allow him to make a gradual transition to the NFL.