It’s almost a rite of passage in the NFL that when an organization parts with a star receiver – either by retirement, release, trade or via free agency – those teams waste little time in trying to replace them in the draft.
Such is the case for both the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans, who have seen their receiver corps reduced for a variety of reasons and both used first-round picks to address the issue.
Atlanta was the first to address wide receiver in the draft when they selected Drake London with the eighth pick. The Falcons have a glaring need at wide receiver since they traded Julio Jones in 2021, let Russell Gage leave in free agency, and will be without Calvin Ridley, who is currently serving a suspension.
We have more than a quarter-century track record of creating fantasy football champs. Sign up for The Huddle today to gain an award-winning edge on the competition!
The same is true with Tennessee. Over 13 months, the Titans moved on from Corey Davis, A.J. Brown and Julio Jones.
So who would you rather have of these two perceived draft saviors?
The case for and against Drake London
- He is a huge target (6-foot-4, 219 pounds) who specializes in winning 50/50 balls in single coverage.
- London routinely gets separation when he hits his cuts.
- He has very good body control with the ability to track the deep ball and adjust to poorly thrown passes to make big plays downfield.
- London has a path cleared for him to start from Day 1 with the loss of so many receivers.
- One of his strengths is that, despite not having great burst or acceleration, his route running gets him a lot of yards after the catch.
- The Falcons offense was woeful before cutting ties with Matt Ryan, and expecting miracles from Marcus Mariota is asking a lot for any wide receiver, much less a rookie. Should Mariota falter or succumb to injury, rookie Desmond Ridder is the presumed next man up.
- London is coming off a fractured ankle that will be a concern to many fantasy owners, because lower-body injuries tend to recur too often in skill position players.
The case for and against Treylon Burks
- He is a physically dominating receiver at 6-foot-2, 225 and many of the predraft comparisons made about him were to A.J. Brown – the player he is replacing with the pick Tennessee landed from trading him.
- Burks has impressive versatility and was used in the slot, as a motion receiver and even out of the backfield at times as a running back/H-back hybrid.
- He makes fluid adjustments on poorly thrown balls and brings in almost everything thrown his way.
- He has a gigantic catch radius that will be used well by Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is known for his accuracy.
- Burks has nobody in front of him to be a starter. The only current Titans player with a track record is Robert Woods, and he’s coming off reconstructive knee surgery at age 30.
- He played in a gimmick offense that rarely had him lining up outside the hashes, so he will have a learning curve ahead of him.
- Burks has battled the effects of asthma and missed basically all of OTAs.
- He needs to refine a lot of the nuances of the game, like polishing his technique and becoming a more engaged blocker – especially for a team that runs as much as Tennessee.
Fantasy football outlook
While it’s fair to view London as the superior talent of the two, endorsing a receiver who has Mariota as his quarterback is perilous. Tannehill has much more of a rounded pro history and reads defenses much better, which should make Burks the more immediate fantasy threat.
That being said, neither will likely be in many fantasy lineups on a weekly basis. Treat Burks as a high WR4 candidate and expect London to be a mid- to low-end WR4 in most scoring systems.