Using a second-round pick on WR Tutu Atwell
While the LA Rams can add whomever they choose, questions arise with the use of the most valued pick in their draft to select a player who is not considered a game-changer, who virtually all other draft analysts had projected to be available on day three, and who will be fighting an uphill battle to even get off the bench in 2021.
The current projection for Atwell right now is likely to make the roster thanks to his special team contribution. The LA Rams certainly need to improve all over their special team production from 2020, and the return game is one of the groups that are most in need of a serious talent infusion. But let’s step back for just a moment.
The Rams tried to add undrafted free agents in 2020 to swell the ranks of the special teams. But the NFL shaved the entire time to prepare for the new season down to the bare-bones minimum. That lack of time to coach up special teams players crippled the efforts to reverse the team’s descent. That experience left the Rams with an even more dire need to fix special teams pronto in 2021.
Unfortunately, a second-round pick for a punt returner is serious overkill. The Rams passed on offensive center Creed Humphrey, inside linebacker Jabril Cox, and inside linebacker Nick Bolton. Any one of the three passed-up players would have had made a much stronger case to start for the Rams on opening day than Atwell. Atwell may prove to be a solid addition to the Rams. But the spot where the Rams chose to add him is a spot that dictates an immediate contributor to either the offense or defense. Atwell likely will prove to be neither.