The Detroit Lions have made it abundantly clear they are in the wide receiver market this offseason. As luck would have it, this happens to be a pretty decent class of wide receivers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
USC receiver Drake London may be one of the most tempting options for the Lions next season. He’s coming off his most productive season, tallying 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns and as a result, was named 2021 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year. And that was despite missing the final four games of the season with a broken ankle. He also brings size, towering at 6-foot-5, per USC’s website.
That kind of size is something the Lions have made abundantly clear they need to make the offense more efficient, particularly in the red zone where Detroit finished 31st in touchdown percentage.
“When we get down there (in the red zone) the size matchups make a huge difference,” offensive coordinator Ben Johnson said this week per DetroitLions.com. “That was another thing we brought up. How many times did we really throw it outside the numbers when we got down there tight and probably was below league average. That’s something we need to look at and to explore.”
London also offers one more unique aspect: a history of being a Lions fan. Chris Simms of Pro Football Talk spoke with London and asked him what was his team growing up. He surprised everyone on set when he said the Lions.
“Let me break it down real quick,” London said amidst laughter. “Pops was a Barry Sanders fan growing up, and then it just so happened that Calvin Johnson, one of the best receivers ever—or the best receiver ever—was there. So I got to watch him growing up and it was perfect. I could care less about records or anything like that. It’s just him being Megatron was something special for me.”
Mike Florio followed up asking if he would like to play for the Lions, and London wisely sidestepped the question, noting he’d be grateful to be picked anywhere.
But there is one more thing that would make Detroit a favorable landing spot for London: teaming up again with his former college teammate Amon-Ra St. Brown.
“Definitely a big brother right there,” London said of St. Brown in a separate media session this week. “I was blessed enough to get in a room with him when I was younger and be there with him for two years. So he’s definitely been in my ear, helping me through this process.”
At USC, the two complemented each other well over two seasons. In 2020, they were the Trojans’ top two receivers, combining for 980 yards and 10 touchdowns in a shortened six-game season. The previous year, the duo produced 1,609 yards and 11 touchdowns.
With St. Brown already off to a hot start in the NFL, London admitted it would be fun to run it back with him in Detroit.
“That would be cool,” London said. ”A blessing for sure to have something like that. Help me out with the locker room atmosphere and all that.”
We all know St. Brown would be on board: