Eleven targets for Commanders at pick No. 11: Drake London originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
In this series, Pete Hailey will preview 11 players whom the Commanders could select with the 11th overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Next up: Receiver Drake London.
Background: 6-foot-4, 213-pound pass-catcher… Will turn 21 years old this July… Moorpark, California native… Played three years at USC… 88 catches, 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021.
Biggest strength: London is a leaper with length, and those two Ls lead to lots of Ws in contested-catch sequences.
Yes, the following clip is from London’s recent Pro Day and features exactly zero (0) people wearing pads, but it still gives you a clue of the former Trojan’s size and go-up-and-snatch-it ability:
As astute watchers of that video might’ve gleaned, London was a successful basketball player before focusing on football full time, and that experience on the hardwood shows whenever his quarterback lofts a ball up into the sky. NFL corners may have to get used to being posterized when they are matched up with London in the future.
Biggest question mark: London’s penchant for winning when the coverage is tight is extra important to him because, unfortunately, he’s not that adept at creating much space.
He’s not especially fast or agile, which is understandable for a target of his size but still necessary to point out. Those flaws affect him both before the catch and when he’s aiming to churn up yards after it.
If London learns to be a more savvy route runner as a pro, he can pick up clever ways to subtly shed opposing defensive backs. That said, he’s not a burner like Jameson Williams, Garrett Wilson or Chris Olave, and that’s something he’ll always have to overcome in the NFL.
Potential fit in Washington: Stats from Carson Wentz’s previous two stops reveal that the quarterback tends to find his greatest success with larger receivers and tight ends, which suggests Wentz and London could form a potent pair.
What’s also intriguing about London is that his style of play is largely different than Terry McLaurin‘s, a star who often wins with speed and finesse. Variety in a receiving corps is always a welcome quality. McLaurin, though, is also a jump-ball extraordinaire, so Wentz could have two outstanding outlets if no one’s really open but he wants to air it out anyways.
Plus, as troubling as it is to think about, McLaurin is in line for a major contract extension this summer, and if he and the Commanders don’t come to an agreement in those negotiations, it’s paramount that the franchise acquires another young wideout to put in its pipeline. London, who’s not yet 21, would fulfill that need.
Random and probably ultimately useless fact that’s being included in this story anyway: London was a part of USC’s hoops squad for one season (the campaign that took place after his freshman year on the football team). He suited up for two games and pulled down three rebounds in two appearances. Sadly, he didn’t score.