Drake London committed to USC to play both football and basketball after excelling in high school in Moorpark, California. After an encouraging freshman year, he opted to focus solely on football and started for all six games in the COVID-shortened season of 2020. He was named Second Team – All PAC-12 and entered last year with the expectation of being one of the best college receivers. He did not disappoint.
London only played for eight games as a junior due to a fractured ankle but was on a pace to end with 132 catches for 1,626 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’d broken 1,000 yards by Week 8 and while the injury ended a likely Biletnikoff Award, he was still named as the PAC-12 Player of the Year.
His first two seasons at USC saw him behind Michael Pittman Jr. and Amon-Ra St. Brown. When he assumed the No. 1 role last year, he was nearly unstoppable, recording 88 catches for 1,084 yards and averaging 11 catches per game over just eight games. London caught up to 16 receptions as a possession receiver that dominated the target share. And that was during one of the worst seasons (4-8) in USC history.
Weight: 219 pounds
40 time: 4.5 seconds (estimated – did not run at the combine)
Due to his ankle injury, London attended the NFL Combine but only for interviews and did not perform or get measured. He intends to have his own Pro Day on April 5, separate from the official USC Pro Day held on March 23. He is still working towards full recovery from his ankle injury but is expected to be completely ready for the 2022 NFL season.
Table: Drake London NCAA stats (2019-2021)
|Year||Team||Games||Catch||Yards||Avg.||TD||Runs||Yards||TD||Total Yards||Total TDs|
- Rare combination of size and athleticism
- Elite hands and ball skills at all levels
- Impressive timing on leaps
- Crisp routes and success at all three levels of the defense
- Uses height and strong hands to win almost all 50/50 balls
- Experienced both outside and in the slot
- Basketball skills add to superior catch ability
- Dominated NCAA defenses
- Size makes him a formidable downfield blocker
- Smart receiver that finds the open spot
- Lack of elite speed is compensated with size and football IQ
- Didn’t measure at combine but should at Pro Day
- Needs work on run blocking
- Not quick off the line
- Most experience was in the slot, not outside
Drake London rates to be in the first round, usually as a Top-3 rookie wideout and has the chance of being the first name called for his position. Breaking his ankle last season short-circuited an electric performance on an otherwise ineffective Trojans’ team. London was described as “a quarterback’s best friend”. He was so proficient with receptions, that he didn’t need the ball thrown to him, merely “at him,” and he’d come down with it.
A perceived lack of top speed, and quickness getting there, is a downgrade by some scouts, but there is no arguing how well he played, and on a team without any other elements of an elite offense around him. London compares to Mike Evans who logged much the same measurables when he entered the NFL.
London needs to prove that the fractured ankle is not of any ongoing concern – and it isn’t expected to be. But his recovery meant that he wouldn’t have logged as fast in a 40-time back at the NFL Combine, so he’s delayed his personal Pro Day as long as he can.
London may not sport elite speed, but he’s been everything else that a team could want from their No. 1 wideout. While he was once described as a tremendously talented tight end, he is not slow. He is a factor on deep routes though his bread and butter is short and intermediate routes that maximizes his catching ability, size advantage and overall football intelligence.
There’s plenty to love about a 6-4 receiver with elite hands and pass-catching skills. Playing on a USC team that trailed in most games last year and that had no other real threats, London still managed to catch at least nine passes in all but one game and turned in over 130 yards in six of the eight. He’d be a great addition to a team with a young quarterback looking to establish a connection that could last for years.
And he’d be a potential rookie of the year if he ends up paired with one of the elite veteran quarterbacks.