Atlanta Falcons NFL Draft Grades 2022: Drake London the first WR selected

What are the Atlanta Falcons' grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

The 2022 NFL Draft has officially kicked off, and the Atlanta Falcons have made their first selection. As the seven rounds progress and the team makes all of their picks, we will provide a live draft grade and analysis for each of the Falcons’ selections. How do these new prospects fit with the roster, what kind of impact will they have on the team, and what do the team’s needs look like now that the draft is complete?

Make sure to continue to check back as the 2022 NFL Draft continues for live Atlanta Falcons draft grades and analysis.

Atlanta Falcons grades for 2022 NFL Draft

What are the Atlanta Falcons’ grades for their selections in the 2022 NFL Draft as they look to address their main needs this offseason?

Round 1, Pick 8: Drake London, WR, USC

The Falcons were bound to have an interesting selection in store at No. 8 overall, with plenty of needs to fill and plenty of talented players in play. In the end, they went with USC’s Drake London, who comes off the board as the first wide receiver. It’s a surprising pick, especially when players like Charles Cross and Jermaine Johnson II, among others, were on the board. But London is a worthy WR1 candidate in this class, and the Falcons’ cupboard is completely bare at receiver.

London is my personal WR3, but he’s right there with Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams. London has elite size at 6’4”, 219 pounds, with 33” arms. He’s a near-dominant contested-catch threat who was funneled targets at USC. He can box out defenders with his frame and snare passes in midair with rare focus. But in other phases, London holds up as well. He’s an underrated route runner with lateral agility and nuance, and he has a great mix of agility and physicality in open space. His health in the immediate timeline is a minor question, but he can be a surefire X for Atlanta.

Grade: B+

Round 2, Pick 38: Arnold Ebiketie, EDGE, Penn State

The Atlanta Falcons traded pick Nos. 43 and 114 to the New York Giants for pick No. 38. With that pick, the Falcons selected Penn State EDGE Arnold Ebiketie. A talented pass rusher with tremendous upside, Ebiketie comes as a steal at this point for Atlanta, based on the PFN Top 300 Consensus Big Board. With a terrific athletic profile, Ebiketie’s best football may just be in front of him.

With long arms and plenty of power in his rushes, Ebiketie actually possesses an underrated speed to his game. Whether it’s closing on quarterbacks or chasing down running backs from the backside, Ebiketie is the full package. He’s a great fit for the Falcons’ system.

Grade: A-

Round 2, Pick 58: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State

With countless needs, the Atlanta Falcons are somewhat of a wild card at each selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. They compounded that unpredictability with their pick at 58th overall. With several quarterbacks on the board, including Malik Willis, the Falcons instead picked Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen.

Andersen is a former quarterback, surprisingly enough. But he’ll be relied upon on the defensive side of the ball for Atlanta. His upside is truly extraordinary. He has a lot of room for refinement. His angles are startlingly inconsistent at times, and his recognition can improve. But at 6’3 ½”, 243 pounds, with 4.42 speed, Andersen has an elite size/speed combination. He’s already a high-level coverage linebacker with potential as a versatile chess piece. It’s a slight reach, but there is upside.

Grade: C+

Round 3, Pick 74: Desmond Ridder, QB, Cincinnati

One thing is for sure — Desmond Ridder is a winner. He exited Cincinnati after compiling the third-most wins in college football history at the quarterback position. There is also no denying his physical presence. He can fly, and he has immense talent in his right arm. Ridder makes some throws look easy and can layer shots over defenders in zone coverage very well.

What scares me about Ridder (and likely explains why he slid to pick No. 74) is his inaccuracy. Ridder misses passes far too often and misses far too wide. The inaccuracies plagued him at times – he was unable to elevate his game to that of an elite downfield passer. He can hit every level of the field, but can Atlanta’s staff harness accuracy in his throws?

Grade: C

Round 3, Pick 82: DeAngelo Malone, EDGE, Western Kentucky

It’s been an intriguing draft for the Falcons. After selecting Arnold Ebiketie at the front of Round 2, the Falcons grab another edge rusher in DeAngelo Malone from Western Kentucky. Malone is an extremely experienced five-year player from WKU with productivity to match his experience.

He plays a much bigger brand of football than his size and his program. Malone also has positional versatility and can drop back in coverage as well. There isn’t much he doesn’t do well, and he even possesses an elite few pass-rush moves to bank on as he adjusts to the talent leap in the NFL.

Grade: B

Round 5, Pick 151: Tyler Allgeier, RB, BYU

It was safe to assume that, at some point, the Atlanta Falcons would add a running back in the 2022 NFL Draft. Midway through the fifth round, they finally made the move, adding BYU ball carrier Tyler Allgeier. Allgeier is a fun fit in Arthur Smith’s offense. He certainly brings the size associated with this scheme, standing at around 5’11”, 224 pounds. A former linebacker, he also brings great physicality and consistently finishes downhill.

Beyond that, Allgeier has some modest elusiveness in his game, and although his vision isn’t elite, if he has space to identify lanes, he can hit them with force. Allgeier could end up being a great value pick here. And in a thin Falcons RB room, he might see significant reps earlier than expected.

Grade: A-

Round 6, Pick 190: Justin Shaffer, G, Georgia

While the Georgia defense has set records in this 2022 NFL Draft, the offensive line has talent too. Justin Shaffer has a solid, stout build and plays with decent strength and impressive technical ability in terms of knee bend and leverage. While there’s some improvement to be made, he can play with his hands and feet in sync. Shaffer will be a decent depth piece for the Falcons behind the likes of Jalen Mayfield, Chris Lindstrom, and Drew Dalman.

Grade: B-

Round 6, Pick 213: John FitzPatrick, TE, Georgia

With the interest the Falcons showed in tight ends ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft, one could reasonably assume that they’d take one somewhere within the seven-round slate. Now, in Round 6, they take John FitzPatrick out of Georgia.

FitzPatrick isn’t an inspiring pick. You can see the reasoning for it. He’s largely a blocking tight end, playing that role well at Georgia. At 6’7”, 262 pounds, with near-34” arms, he has ideal size in that role. But he’s not much of a receiving threat, with 17 total catches over three seasons. The pick makes sense in Arthur Smith’s scheme, but more upside was available here.

Grade: C-

What were the Falcons’ biggest needs entering the draft?

  • WR, DT, EDGE, G, OT

In the past 12 months, the Falcons have seen both Julio Jones and Russell Gage head out of the door, while Calvin Ridley took a break from the game before getting suspended for a year. Wide receiver once looked like a position of strength for the Falcons, but it’s now their biggest weakness.

Elsewhere, they need to address both the defensive and offensive lines. Grady Jarrett is extremely talented, but he needs a partner. The Falcons have also now long struggled for a consistent pass rush, so that is something they need to address. Their OL could benefit from attention to both the guard and tackle positions during the 2022 NFL Draft.

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast

Listen to the PFN Scouting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Scouting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Scouting Podcast on our Scouting YouTube channel.

Related Articles