2022 Atlanta Falcons Draft Recap
Round 1 | WR Drake London
The Falcons selected Southern California wide receiver Drake London with the eighth overall selection of the 2022 NFL Draft. In three seasons (2019-21) at USC, London recorded 160 receptions for 2,153 yards (13.5 avg.) and 15 touchdowns in 27 games (23 starts) for the Trojans. Despite missing the final four games of the 2021 season, London tallied 88 receptions for 1,084 yards (12.3 avg.) and seven touchdowns in eight games. He earned All-America and all-conference honors and was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year.
London finished with at least 100 receiving yards in nine games during his collegiate career, including five-consecutive games in 2021. The 20-year-old was the first Trojan to reach 100 receiving yards in five straight games since Marquise Lee in 2012. Additionally, despite Southern California's storied history of wide receivers, London became the first player to record at least 15 receptions in multiple games in program history. The 6-foot-4, 219-pound receiver also played basketball at Southern California in 2020.
London is the seventh wide receiver selected by the Falcons in the first round in franchise history, joining Calvin Ridley (2018), Julio Jones (2011), Roddy White (2005), Michael Jenkins (2004), Mike Pritchard (1991) and Shawn Collins (1989).
"Drake London is as talented of a player as I've been around. To combine the size he has with his body control and his ball skills, his toughness, I think he creates natural matchup problems for people." Over the next two seasons, London created plenty of problems for opposing defenses and became one of the most prolific receivers in the country." - USC Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell
"Big, long possession receiver with the ability to play outside or from the slot. London lacks desired top-end speed and separation quickness to open clear throwing windows but plays a mature, savvy brand of ball. The game slows down for him when the ball comes out. London was a top-flight basketball player so angles to the ball, body positioning and high-pointing come very naturally to him, turning a 50-50 ball into a 70-30 advantage." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
"The ultimate respect for a wide receiver is when everyone knows the ball is going to him, yet the defense can't stop it." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic
"London wins the way elite power forwards win — not surprising with his basketball background. He's too quick for bigger corners and too physical for smaller corners. Even when he's covered, London is still likely to haul it in." - Pro Football Focus
"Excellent size and length for the WR position. Good body control for his size. Can sink when he has to break on his routes and can bend enough to win leverage against DBs. Good overall route-runner who understands how to tempo his routes to keep CBs off balance. Able to stay tight at the top of his routes, which is even more impressive given his size. Very good hands with excellent catching range. Is comfortable extending away from his body to haul in throws. Makes his big frame even bigger by snatching throws in traffic." - Nate Tice, The Athletic
Join us as we follow Atlanta Falcons' first round draft pick Drake London's path to Flowery Branch.
Round 2 | OLB Arnold Ebiketie
Atlanta traded the 43rd and 114th overall selections to the New York Giants in exchange for the 38th pick and selected Penn State outside linebacker Arnold Ebiketie (Ebb-uh-KAY-tee) with their first pick of Day 2. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound edge rusher led the Nittany Lions with 18 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks while totaling 62 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one pass defense in 2021. He earned second-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior.
Prior to his time at Penn State, Ebiketie played three seasons at Temple where he notched 59 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and three forced fumbles in 24 games (six starts) for the Owls. He was a second-team All-AAC selection in 2020 after leading the team in tackles for loss, sacks, and forced fumbles.
With the selection, Ebiketie became the first Cameroon-born prospect to be selected in the NFL Draft in league history. He also became the first Nittany Lion selected by the Falcons since defensive back Bryan Scott in 2003.
"Ebiketie is a productive rusher off the edge who combines size, length, and a nice foundation of pass-rush moves; he should be a factor early in his career." - Danny Kelly, The Ringer
"Ebiketie wins with savvy and hand usage. The way he plays the edge position just looks like the way a veteran in the league plays. From that standpoint, the learning curve for him may not be too steep." - Pro Football Focus
"Ebiketie explodes off the edge and stresses blockers with his arc acceleration, active hands and relentless play personality … he is a long, twitched-up athlete with the motor and mentality to develop into a starting NFL pass rusher." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic
"Ebiketie's flexibility around the edge and ability to make himself a tough target for offensive linemen to hit is up there with anyone else in this class. Moreover, his ability to turn the corner all the way back up to the quarterback and finish on pass-rushing reps is exactly what scouts should want in a speed-rusher type." - Derrik Klassen, Bleacher Report
Round 2 | ILB Troy Andersen
The Falcons selected Montana State linebacker Troy Andersen with the 58th overall pick. Andersen played four seasons (2017-19; 2021) at Montana State and played running back, linebacker and quarterback for the Bobcats. The 6-foot-3, 243-pound linebacker finished his career with 214 total tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 15 passes defensed and three interceptions in 50 games (40 starts). He also recorded the second-most rushing touchdowns (33), sixth-most 100-rushing yard games (11), and ninth-most rushing yards (2,260) in program history.
Andersen notched 147 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, nine passes defensed and two interceptions in 15 games (15 starts) in 2021. He was named the 2021 FCS ADA Defensive Player of the Year and was a unanimous first-team All-American. In 2019, Anderson played running back and quarterback, earned first-team All-America and first-team All-Big Sky honors, recording 54 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, six passes defensed, one interception, seven rushing touchdowns and one touchdown pass.
The Dillon, Mt., native began his career as a running back and linebacker, rushing for 515 yards on 90 carries (5.7 avg.) and five touchdowns, adding seven catches for 45 yards and one touchdown in 2017, and was named the Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2017. His second season, he converted to quarterback and earned first-team All-Big Sky honors and third-team All-America honors with a school-record 21 rushing touchdowns in 2018.
Atlanta Falcons have drafted Montana State running back Troy Andersen in the second round.
"Fascinating prospect. Former QB. Transitioned to LB and was ultra-productive at FCS level. Big and supremely athletic. Flies to the football. Big tackling radius." - Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports
"Andersen's an extraordinary athlete with a big frame and intriguing potential at the linebacker position; he should contribute on special teams right away." - Danny Kelly, The Ringer
"A toolsy size/speed athlete with the competitive toughness and versatility that give him legitimate NFL upside (on offense, defense, and special teams)." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic
"Andersen's game is defined by speed and comfort in space. A tall, well-built linebacker, Andersen still flies sideline-to-sideline and has some of the best range in the class." - Derrik Klassen, Bleacher Report
Round 3 | QB Desmond Ridder
With the 74th overall pick, the Falcons selected Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder. Ridder completed 810-of-1,304 attempts (62.1 percent) for 10,239 yards, a program-record 87 touchdowns and 28 interceptions, while rushing for 2,180 yards and 28 touchdowns in 50 games (49 starts) over four seasons (2018-21) at Cincinnati. He finished his collegiate career with the third-most wins by a quarterback in college football history (44), while finishing undefeated (26-0) at Nippert Stadium. He also set a conference record for career total touchdowns with 115.
The 6-foot-3, 211-pound quarterback completed 251-of-387 attempts (64.9 percent) for 3,334 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 14 games (14 starts) as a senior in 2021, leading the Bearcats to a 13-1 record and an appearance in the College Football Playoff. A team captain, Ridder was named first-team All-ACC and the conference's Offensive Player of the Year for a second-consecutive season last year.
Ridder became the first quarterback selected by Atlanta since Sean Renfree in 2013 and the highest-selected quarterback by the Falcons since Matt Ryan in 2008.
"Ridder's an experienced dual-threat passer with the tools to develop into a high-level pro starter; he's one of the more refined and game-ready quarterbacks in this draft." - Danny Kelly, The Ringer
"He has the physical tools and mindset to compete for starting reps early in his NFL career." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic
"Ridder is a quarterback with good height but a slighter frame who is a very good athlete at the position. He consistently displays polished footwork and pocket movement that allows him to play with balance. Even though he is a plus athlete with very good speed who is a weapon on designed quarterback runs, Ridder prefers to do his damage from the pocket." - Nate Tice, The Athletic
"Ridder is a decisive and quick pocket-passer who has good enough arm talent to hit defenses over the top. While he's not much of a runner himself, his speed demands that he's accounted for." - Pro Football Focus
Round 3 | OLB DeAngelo Malone
Atlanta rounded out Day 2 by selecting outside linebacker DeAngelo Malone out of Western Kentucky. Malone tallied 349 total tackles (179 solo), 34.0 sacks, 60 tackles for loss, nine forced fumbles, eight passes defensed, one interception and one fumble recovery in 62 games over five seasons (2017-21) at Western Kentucky. The 6-foot-3, 243-pound outside linebacker earned first-team All-Conference USA in each of his final three seasons, earning two Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year awards over that span (2019, 2021), becoming the fourth player to win that award multiple times.
Malone led the Hilltoppers in sacks (9.0), tackles for loss (17.5) and forced fumbles (four) in 14 games (14 starts) in 2021. He also recorded more total tackles (94) than any FBS defensive lineman last season, marking the second time he accomplished that feat in the past three years (99 total tackles in 2019). The Atlanta native finished his college career as the all-time sack leader in program history with 34, while his 60 tackles for loss were the second-most in school history.
Atlanta Falcons have drafted Western Kentucky outside linebacker DeAngelo Malone in the third round.
"He has the physical tools and mindset to compete for starting reps early in his NFL career." - Dane Brugler
"Long, bendy, high-energy rusher with a polished game and loads of productivity in college. He plays bigger and more powerful than his frame but does need to add weight/power. Falcons doubling up on EDGE is smart." - Chris Trapasso
"Malone shows great speed in space and enough fluidity to keep a good pace while changing direction. That made him a menace anytime he cracked into the backfield or was forced to cover ground." - Derrik Klassen, Bleacher Report
Round 5 | RB Tyler Allgeier
The Falcons kicked off their Day 3 by selecting BYU running back Tyler Allgeier in the fifth round (151st overall). The 5-foot-10, 224-pound running back played in 41 games, 21 starts, over four years for the Cougars. He totaled 2,899 yards on 452 carries with 36 touchdowns while averaging 6.4 yards per carry. He also added 46 catches for 437 yards and one touchdown. A former walk-on, Allgeier redshirted in 2018 and then spent time as a two-way player in 2019, playing both running back and linebacker.
Allgeier was a second-team All-American in 2021 after he set a single-season school record with 1,601 rushing yards. The Fontana, Calif., native led the FBS with 23 rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. A physical runner, Allgeier recorded 70-percent of his rushing yardage after contact, according to The Athletic's Dane Brugler.
Allgeier had a breakout campaign in 2020 earning honorable mention All-America honors after leading the team with 1,130 yards on 150 carries. He ranked seventh in the FBS, averaging 7.5 yards per carry, and tied for 10th with 13 rushing touchdowns.
During the 2019 season, Allgeier played both running back and linebacker posting 119 yards on 17 carries while notching 26 tackles. He played four games in 2018 before redshirting.
"Runs with an instinctive feel and quick feet for a bigger ball carrier and shows the passing game potential to be an every-down NFL back. He reminds me of Arizona Cardinals RB James Conner." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic
"Tyler Allgeier is a running back with a good build who has true three-down potential in the NFL. He runs with a good base and is light on his feet with polished footwork for his size." - Nate Tice, The Athletic
"A well-built, highly productive zone-scheme runner with impressive vision and feel for the job. Allgeier is smooth and instinctive with one-cut talent. He effectively navigates the ebbs and flows of run lane development." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
"No nonsense running style that's perfect for a bigger back. Vision is a plus. Always seems to be gaining ground toward the open hole. Outstanding pass-blocker. Finds work and eliminates threats." - Pro Football Focus
Round 6 | OL Justin Shaffer
In Round 6, Atlanta selected Georgia's Justin Shaffer with the 190th overall selection. Shaffer played five seasons (2017-21) at the University of Georgia and appeared in 51 games (27 starts) for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot-4, 314-pound offensive lineman started all 15 games at left guard for Georgia as a fifth-year senior in 2021, earning second-team All-SEC honors for the national champions. Last season, Georgia's offense averaged 190.9 rushing yards per game.
The Ellenwood, Ga., native started all 10 games – nine at left guard and one at right guard – for Georgia in 2020. He started 26 games at left guard and one at right guard in his college career. He attended Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, where he was high school teammates with his first cousin and Falcons third-round selection DeAngelo Malone. Shaffer and Malone led the Saints to the 2016 Georgia 3A state championship.
With the selection, Shaffer became the first Georgia Bulldog to be selected by the Falcons since linebacker Akeem Dent in 2011.
Atlanta Falcons have drafted Georgia offensive lineman Justin Shaffer in the fifth round.
"Shaffer has a massive, thick build with good length and an attacking, physical demeanor. He has very good play strength and natural power in his hands to bang and displace defenders on gap run concepts, with the ability to bulldoze defenders in space." - Brandon Thorn, Bleacher Report
"Mauling bear at left guard who plays with a salty demeanor … He matches power with power and can win ugly when needed." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
Round 6 | TE John FitzPatrick
Shaffer was soon joined by another Bulldog, as the Falcons selected tight end John FitzPatrick with the 213th overall pick – their final selection of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound tight end played in 38 games, 13 starts, over four years at Georgia logging 17 catches for 200 yards (11.8 yards per catch) with one touchdown.
Primarily used as an inline, blocking tight end, FitzPatrick was a key part of a Bulldogs offense that averaged 443.1 yards of total offense per game, 191.2 rushing yards per game, and ranked ninth in the nation in scoring offense in 2021. He posted six catches for 83 yards last year and played through injuries to help Georgia to a 13-1 record and a national title.
Atlanta Falcons have drafted Georgia tight end John FitzPatrick in the fifth round.
"Lining up primarily inline with some detached snaps, he was an understated, yet important part of the Bulldogs offense and national title run … his inline blocking and intangibles are what makes him a draftable prospect. He can find a niche as a productive Y tight end in the NFL." - Dane Brugler, The Athletic