Heading into the 2022 NFL offseason, the Chicago Bears were expected to have a number of needs on the offensive side of the ball. Among those needs was the wide receiver, a positional group that needed to see a major overhaul with the departure of the veteran. Allen Robinson which was sometimes the only source of production of the offense throughout the Matt Nagy time.
Free agency has seen Chicago sign a few veteran receivers and while Mooney continues to be the top wide receiver on the roster, the Bears have two second-round picks in the April draft, which means the opportunity to find a long-term solution right in front. Mooney is not an option, it’s a necessity.
One name to watch for the 2022 NFL Draft is USC Drake Londona two-sport athlete who has quickly become a major fixture in the Trojans attack since setting foot on campus in 2019. Considered one of WR’s hottest prospects, London is expected to be a contributor day one for any NFL offense with his diverse skill set. .
Let’s get into our scouting report for London.
Drake LondonUSC, (6-foot-4, 219 pounds)
“Big, long possession receiver with the ability to play outside or from the slot. London lacks the desired top speed and separation quickness to open up clear throwing windows, but plays a mark of mature ball savvy.The game slows down for him when the London was a top basketball player, so angles off the ball, body positioning and high pointing come very naturally to him, turning a 50- 50 to a 70-30 advantage to dominate the catching phase, his one-speed run and lack of separation burst mean a career full of contested catches London’s professional career would benefit from playing with a diverse receiving corps which allows callers to play with the strengths of London.
– Although we listed the size of London earlier, it is worth mentioning again. There are few wide receivers in this draft class who stand at 6-foot-4 and 219 pounds, making London a true offset weapon. London’s size allows him to win on every possible rep as he uses his basketball experience to clear defenders and play easily.
– The Trojans merely moved London into the attack. Something that was noticeable watching the film was that London lined up both outside and in the slot. It’s one of his strengths that will translate well to the next level, giving offensive coordinators a number of possibilities when building plays.
– The hands seem to be like magnets. London is capable of carrying any pass thrown at it. His focus when locating football certainly plays a role here.
– The route to London is about as good as it gets. The London route has shown he can be an asset in the short, middle and deep areas of the peloton.
– Physics is also an important part of London skills. He uses his big frame to beat smaller defenders, giving him the edge every time.
– Production has increased over the past three seasons. London’s freshman season saw him catch just 39 passes and his junior season saw him play in eight games with 88 receptions, 1,084 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 12.3 yards per reception. This increase in production shows that London has gone from the WR rotation as a rookie to one of the faces of the Trojans program as a junior.
– London’s biggest weakness is their inability to hold up as a run blocker. There are occasions when he takes bad angles. To become a more complete WR, he will need to improve on that.
– When it comes to receiving yards, London is solid in that area but he won’t wow anyone with his speed when the ball is in his hands.
– At a time when the NFL continues to value speed in wide receivers, London doesn’t offer top-notch speed. It won’t ruin his career, but it does mean he’ll have to win a lot more 50-50 balls in the NFL.
– Because London is a bigger WR, he’s not necessarily as sneaky or elusive as some of his counterparts in this draft class. There are times when he doesn’t change direction easily when defenders are in front of him, which could work against him in the NFL.
When the NFL Draft rolls around, expect London’s name to be called out on day one. At the next level, he will definitely be an asset to a team looking to add to the WR corps. He fits the mold of a modern NFL WR who can win with great road running and versatility, which makes him such a well-rounded prospect overall.
In the context of the Bears, London’s skills would benefit Fields and Mooney by giving the offense another WR that can impact the short and middle passing game. In addition, London would also be an asset for the first-year offensive coordinator Luc Getsythat would move London, creating the best possible matchups for the Bears offense.