2022 NFL Draft: Grades for Drake London and Every Other Atlanta Falcons Pick
With a 7-10 record and a third-place finish in the NFC South, the 2021 NFL season wasn’t a complete disaster for the Atlanta Falcons. But the 2022 campaign is certainly heading in that direction — and that’s no matter what happens in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Two big holes the Falcons must fill in the draft are those left by quarterback Matt Ryan, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, and wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who was suspended for the season for gambling.
Marcus Mariota will temporarily fill the gap at quarterback, and he’ll be the guy as Atlanta used its first of nine picks to fill one of its biggest holes, drafting USC wideout Drake London.
But it’s not as if wide receiver was the only position where the Falcons needed help. Truth be told, they needed help everywhere. It’s time for a complete rebuild in the ATL, and it all starts with this 2022 NFL Draft. Let’s see how they did.
2022 NFL Draft picks by Atlanta Falcons
- No. 8 Overall: Drake London, WR, USC
- No. 38 Overall: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
- No. 58 Overall: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
- No. 74 Overall: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
- No. 82 Overall: DeAngelo Malone, OLB, Western Kentucky
- No. 151 Overall: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU
- No. 190 Overall: Justin Shaffer, G, Georgia
- No. 213 Overall: John Fitzpatrick, TE, Georgia
No. 8 Overall: Drake London, WR, USC
This is an excellent pick for the Falcons. London played just eight games for the Trojans before breaking his ankle but was putting up sick numbers. In those eight games, he caught 88 passes for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns. Mariota will love this guy as he’ll likely get him out of more than a few jams with his abilities.
No. 38 Overall: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State
Though he’s vulnerable when teams attack him on the ground, Arnold Ebiketie does provide the Atlanta Falcons, who registered only 18 sacks in 2021, with some sorely needed ability to rush the quarterback.
No. 58 Overall: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State
I really thought this was where we’d see the Falcons take a quarterback, but they instead went with Montana State linebacker Troy Anderson. He’s a solid prospect and extremely athletic but maybe went a little too high at No. 58.
No. 74 Overall: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati
Desmond Ridder certainly isn’t the quarterback I envisioned the Atlanta Falcons ending up with, but here we are. At least they didn’t waste a pick early on any of these quarterbacks. Ridder’s got some talent, for sure, but he’s a lifetime backup.
No. 82 Overall: DeAngelo Malone, LB, Western Kentucky
This might’ve been a depth pick for the Falcons, but DeAngelo Malone’s knack for exploding off the line of scrimmage and locating the ball gives him upside that could help overcome his lack of strength when teams run directly at him.
Day 3 Picks
No. 151 Overall: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU
A former linebacker, Tyler Allgeier is still a bit raw as a running back, but he’s a solid runner who can also catch passes. Yeah, that sounds like a guy the Falcons would like.
No. 190 Overall: Justin Shaffer, G, Georgia
With holes everywhere, getting some help on the offensive line was necessary and the Falcons got some good value in Bulldogs’ guard Justin Shaffer at No. 190.
No. 213 Overall: John Fitzpatrick, TE, Georgia
The Falcons obviously don’t need a starting tight end, but grabbing a backup in John Fitzpatrick in the sixth round is a solid move.
Stats courtesy of Sports Reference
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