Falcons WR depth chart: How Drake London, Olamide Zaccheaus, others project without Calvin Ridley

The Falcons were coming into the 2022 NFL offseason needing a lot on offense, but at least one of the starting receiver positions should be settled.

Atlanta expected 2018 first-round pick Calvin Ridley to return and reprise his role as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. He had missed all but five games in 2021 after retiring from the Falcons to focus on his mental health and well-being, but seemed poised to return in 2022.

However, Ridley was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after an investigation found he had bet on NFL games in a span of five days in November 2021. At the time, Ridley wasn’t with the Falcons; He bet on a game that Atlanta took part in.

The NFL has strict rules for player gambling and chose to beat Ridley with the indefinite ban. He can apply for reinstatement on February 15, 2023.

The Falcons are now very thin at the receiver position with Ridley out. They’ll have to rely on a mix of young, unproven receiver talent and mediocre veterans to see the team through the 2022 NFL season. Their group is an eclectic mix of body types, as the team has four receivers who are at least 6-3 and four who are 5-9 and under.

What does the reception room for the Falcons look like? Here’s a breakdown of Atlanta stacks at wide-out, according to the team’s official preseason depth chart.

MORE: Why Drake London is ‘likely not’ available in week 2 of preseason

Falcon’s WR depth map


The Falcons spent the No. 8 overall pick in London and envision the USC product becoming their long-term No. 1 receiver.

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London (6-4, 219 pounds) amassed 88 catches, 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns in his final season with the Trojans. He did all of that in just eight games with the team before suffering an ankle injury that knocked him out for the season.

As long as London stays healthy, he should line up plenty of goals for Atlanta. The 21-year-old caught a pass for 24 yards on his preseason debut before exiting the competition with a minor knee injury.

2. Olamid Zacchaeus

After London it gets much thinner. If Ridley were available they would be a dynamic two man punch. Instead, Zaccheaus and Bryan Edwards jostle for the No. 2 receiver position, with Zaccheaus having the early edge.

Zaccheaus, 25, has become a solid playmaker for the Falcons after not being drafted from Virginia. He had 31 catches, 406 yards and three touchdowns in 2021, all career highs.

Zaccheaus averages 14.7 yards per reception as a true deep threat, so he’s estimating he’ll be a field stretcher for Atlanta in 2022. His only problem is that he only weighs 5-8,193 pounds, but that is mitigated by his ability to play the slot in formations of three.


3. Bryan Edwards

Edwards was acquired by trade from the Raiders during the offseason. The 2020 third-round pick didn’t take the stage like the team hoped, but the Falcons are hoping a change of scenery can do him good.

In 2021, Edwards caught 34 passes for 571 yards and three touchdowns. He has averaged 17 yards per catch during his career; That makes him a dangerous deep threat when paired with his 6-3, 212-pound frame.

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Edwards, 23, may not start games that start the Falcons in sets with two receivers, but he should get plenty of action if Zaccheaus steps into the slot. He might eventually move up to the No. 2 role, as many were anticipating, but for now, Atlanta’s depth chart lists Zacchaeus ahead of him.

MORE: What to expect from Falcons offense as Marcus Mariota starts

4. KhaDarel Hodge

The Falcons’ top three receivers are one of the weakest trios in the NFL; their depth behind them is not much better. Hodge (5-11, 183 pounds) is currently listed as the Falcons’ fourth receiver and would enter the lineup in three wide sets, with London not on the lineup.

Hodge has played in 55 NFL games with two starts and has 30 career catches for 430 yards. He has never scored a touchdown.

The Falcons are the fourth team Hodge has played for since joining the league in 2018. The 27-year-old played one year with the Rams, two with the Browns and one with the Lions before coming to Atlanta.

5. Geronimo Allison

Allison showed promise in the early stages of his Packers career. The 6-3, 202-pound pass catcher recorded 89 catches for 1,045 yards and six touchdowns in 49 games (15 starts) with the team from 2016-19.

However, Allison has only played three games since 2020 and has failed to hit either of his goals in those competitions. The 28-year-old looks more like a special team member who could be a good backup if he regains the decent form he once showed in Green Bay.

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6.Frank Darby

Darby was a sixth-round pick for the Falcons in 2021 and a core special teams player. Darby played 53 percent of Atlanta’s special teams snaps despite playing just 10 games, and he expects to play that role again as a key player in 2022.

Darby didn’t do much as a receiver. He played 20 offensive snaps and caught one of four targets for 14 yards. Still, he’s only 24 and at 6-1,200 pounds he’s a good size. He could overtake Hodge and Allison as the season approaches.

MORE: Why the Falcons picked Desmond Ridder over Malik Willis in the 2022 NFL Draft

7. Damiere Byrd

Byrd has played for his fifth other team for the last five years but has been productive at each of his last three stints. He’s averaged 41 catches, 499 yards and a touchdown per 17 games played over the past three seasons, so the Falcons could be looking to make the most of the 5-9, 175-pound speedster.

However, with Zaccheaus already poised for launch, the similarly small Byrd has fallen off the Atlanta depth chart. He could still make the squad but that’s no guarantee. Either way, the 29-year-old tends to be a backup or practice player for Atlanta.

The rest

The remaining members of the Falcons’ WR depth chart are all listed as fourth-string players or lower. They could fight for training spots but the chances of them making the 53-man squad are slim.

Below are the players who round out the Falcons’ pass catchers:

player Age Height weight
Auden Tate 25 6-5 228
Cameron Batson 26 5-8 175
Stanley Berry Hill 24 5-9 182
Jared Bernhardt 24 6-1 195

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