Each week we rank the NFL frosh. And each week we see someone jump and take hold of the top spot.
When the Atlanta Falcons made former USC Trojans star Drake London the top receiver taken in the draft with the eighth pick, they knew they were getting a physical specimen. But I don’t think they expected his route-running to be so crisp.
- Drake London — Atlanta Falcons, WR
The Atlanta Falcons organization is in rebuild mode, but the team could easily be 3-0. Having blown late leads against the New Orlean Saints and L.A. Rams in the first two weeks of the season, Atlanta showed much more promise than expected. The player that has jumped off the screen is wideout Drake London, who’s averaging 71 yards per game receiving with two touchdowns in three games. He’s also got 16 receptions on his 21 targets through the three weeks. Right now, quarterback Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft is at the helm, but the team has visions of London catching touchdowns from future signal-caller Desmond Ridder, who was also taken in 2022 draft.
NFL analyst Jordan Schultz calls London “Julio Jones 2.0.”
“Flat-out dominance in the red zone, his precision. His releases. His ability to high-point the football.”
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) September 23, 2022
2. Garrett Wilson — New York Jets, WR
Wilson is a stud who at times was overshadowed by fellow wideout Chris Olave during their time at Ohio State. But he’s so dynamic that the Jets drafted him with hopes of him becoming their No. 1 weapon in the passing game. With Wilson’s ability to line up at all three receiver positions, when you look at film it’s easy to see his 18 receptions this season should be 30. Veteran QB and former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco has missed him on a few big plays, that could’ve swung both losses. In the team’s lone win over the Browns, Wilson caught two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the waning seconds.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) September 20, 2022
3. Devin Lloyd — Jacksonville Jaguars, LB
The do-it-all former Utah Utes star is playing very well for first-year head coach Doug Pederson’s revamped AFC South-leading Jags. Lloyd has fit seamlessly with Jags star defender Josh Allen and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Travon Walker. Those three are the cornerstones of the Jags defense, and adding Lloyd allows Allen to focus more on his pass-rush skills, making he and Walker one of the best young QB harassers in the league.
Lloyd has keyed a Jags defense which has held its last two opponents, Colts and Chargers, to a combined 10 points while forcing five turnovers.
4. Derek Stingley Jr. — Houston Texans, CB
The Houston Texans are in complete rebuild mode, but their stingy and opportunistic defense led by rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. has been highly effective and has taken the opposing team’s best receiver one-on-one each week without much safety help.
While he’s allowed some catches, none have been for more than 14 yards, and he’s defended five passes as well. What goes unnoticed about Stingley is his willingness to support the run as a tackler. He leads all corners in the league with 18 tackles this season.
5. Sauce Gardner — New York Jets, CB
Sauce has been as good as advertised, and although he gave up his first touchdown in forever to Amari Cooper last week, Gardner has also been the shutdown corner he was at Cincinnati. The touchdown given up to Cooper was more of a safety mistake. Weekly he’s matched up with the opposing team’s top wideout, and in the AFC East he has matchups with Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill looming.
Sauce is just confident enough to get the job done and possesses that type of bravado needed in these high-profile matchups.
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