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Falcons Daily: 'Drake is wired the right way': What Drake London has learned, how he has evolved during rookie year

No. 8 overall NFL Draft pick is devoted to self improvement, maximizing each experience during first professional season 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Drake London has officially played the longest football season of his life. And there are still three games (at least) left to go.

Despite that fact, the Falcons receiver has not hit a rookie wall. There isn't even one on the horizon.

The No. 8 overall pick has gotten better and smarter as the season's progressed, thanks to all the experience and behind-the-scenes work fans don't get to see.


London is trying to learn from every experience, good and bad, to make the most out of his first year in the league.

He discussed that point during a conversation with this week, detailed what he's doing to make an immediate and lasting impact on the team that drafted him so high.

The first thing he did was tune out everything but football, and really listened to a select few.

"All eyes are on you at all times," London said. "You have to be mentally locked in and not listen to all the outside noise. You can't let that get to you or distract you in any way. You're almost building a wall, a barricade from the outside and understanding that the opinions of the people in this building, and those of my family, are the only ones that matter."


London really listens to the people around him and has established a solid routine designed to help him learn and develop as a player. It starts with film work, especially right after a game. Then he meets with receivers coach T.J. Yates in his office to discuss what they saw and little things London can work on to build upon what was previously accomplished.

"I want to be a complete player in this league, someone who can do whatever is needed to help the team win," London said. "It's about constantly getting better."

London believes he has made strides on the mental side of the game, learning how teams are trying to defend him pre-snap. He has fit in well from a physical standpoint, using strength, size and power to his advantage in the patter. That as much as anything, has helped him transition to the NFL game.

"It has gone as smooth as it could possibly go," London said. "I'm not too high or too low on it. I'm riding the wave I'm on right now and really pushing for improvement. I wouldn't say this season has been easy by any stretch, but I think I have fit in well at this level because of all the detail work, because of the coaching staff and my teammates. I don't think people understand – the people in this building have helped me a lot. It's big to have those big brothers out here teaching you and showing you the way."

Veteran receiver Damiere Byrd has been impressed by London's attention to detail and how much he tries learn in the meeting room.

"He's also good at forgetting the last game, the last game plan when we start a new week," Byrd said. "That isn't always easy, but he's always looking ahead at how to improve."


Letting go of a Week 15 loss in New Orleans won't be easy. He made several huge plays, including a gorgeous one-handed catch, but lost a fumble on fourth-and-5 that effectively ended a Falcons comeback attempt. He was open and honest about the mistake and its impact after the game, but had moved on from it as the week progressed.

Falcons coaches viewed it as a teachable moment that in no way diminished trust in the USC product.

"We'll continue to work, but in terms of mindset, he's such a competitor," head coach Arthur Smith said. "You have to understand that I'm going to continue to call his number. We're not down on him. Nobody loves what happened with the result, but Drake is wired the right way. We'll continue to work and learn from those mistakes, but I have all the faith in the world in him."

The Falcons had a good idea of what they were drafting in the first round, but there's always some unknown in how he'll act and develop once he goes pro. The Falcons have been pleased with what they've seen this summer and fall, as his rookie season winds down.

"I think it's one of those things where, you know, you go into it and you want to see how he adapts to certain looks that he gets," offensive coordinator Dave Ragone said. "We try to, as you can see right? We move him around and his ability to grasp space obviously is one of the things that attracted us to him and his ability to make the tough catch. Right? It's hard to get guys wide, wide open in the National Football League. You want guys who are fearless, who understand space, and you can trust and he's shown in times and critical situations those [traits] and you hope he continues and we hope we're able to put him in situations to make plays."

The guys put in the work in Flowery Branch to prepare for this week's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

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