Los Angeles Rams drafted Louisville star WR Tutu Atwell, and the speedster has big plans for his time in LA. Sean McVay and the Rams look loaded on offence and defence, but the special team’s starting spots are still open, and Atwell seems to be excited to be taking over the job. But McVay isn’t committing to the 2nd round pick just yet.
As a wide receiver at Louisville, Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell was a star, earning all-conference honors in his last two seasons. Atwell’s 4.32 speed coupled with his skillset after the catch will make him a valuable asset on the Rams. He picked up 988 yards after the catch since 2019, which ranked third in the country, according to Pro Football Focus’ Sosa Kremenjas.
According to our #’s at @PFF, TuTu Atwell ranked (2019-2020):
3rd in YAC (988)
12th in 1st downs (70)
9th in explosive pass plays of 15+ yards (40)
Among all receivers in CFB.
— Sosa K (@QBsMVP) May 1, 2021
He also had 70 first downs and 40 plays of 15-plus yards, ranking 12th and ninth in college football since 2019, respectively.
Adding speed to the offense.
⁰Welcome to Los Angeles, WR @c5_atwell! pic.twitter.com/i8GoBlP5EE
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 1, 2021
Sean McVay isn’t still sold on Atwell at the punt returning spot
Tutu Atwell said at OTAs that he’s “going to play punt return” as a rookie, but Sean McVay isn’t committing to him as the team’s primary returner.
“He’s done a good job so far. You can see a lot of the things we liked looking at his film throughout the course of his career at Louisville,” McVay said last week. “He’s come out here and done a good job trying to pick things up.”
“There’s a lot of information that we’re throwing at him in a short amount of time, but could definitely feel that speed. We’ve got a lot of guys that are potential candidates to be punt returners for us and we’ve got a long time to figure that out, but been pleased with Tutu so far, for sure.”
NFL Draft prospect and former Louisville WR Tutu Atwell (@c5_atwell) winning vs. off-man on the speed dig.
– Free Access = burst off line
– Eats up cushion
– Works outside 1/2 of man to get hips turned
– Speed cut = no loss of speed
– Gets his YAC!#ReceiverDaily pic.twitter.com/RxlNjXT47h
— Receiver Daily (@ReceiverDaily) March 3, 2021
The Rams haven’t returned a punt or kickoff for a touchdown since Pharoh Cooper took back a kick 103 yards in 2017, so the team is really looking for a star in that phase of the game. Nsimba Webster has been the Rams chief returner the past 2 seasons but averaged only 7.4 yards per return in 2020.
Tutu Atwell isn’t the only one looking for the job. Landen Akers and Jeremiah Haydel were both return specialists in college and signed with the Rams as undrafted free agents this year. So it should be very interesting to see who wins the spot come week 1.