More than meets the eye
If you look up the draft profile for Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell, you can read about a 5-foot-9 155-pound speedster out of college football who is bursting and blessed with talent, but who is cursed with the height and weight of someone who has quite an uphill battle to stay healthy in the NFL. His description cites the ‘one-trick pony,” or the type of receiver who is blazing fast but can only create separation on the football field by outrunning defenders. But terms like ‘skin and bones’ and ‘rail-thin’ appear, painting a distinct picture of a player who has questionable size and weight to play effectively in the NFL.
If you look up his listing on the LA Rams official roster, you will find Tutu Atwell listed at 5-foot-9 and 165-pounds. That’s a hefty 10-pound surge, particularly large considering his size. You’re in for the same challenge if you dare to ask how fast Atwell is. That time ranges from 4.27-seconds to 4.39-seconds for the 40-yard dash. We can at least agree to the fact that he is small and he is quite fast.
What we did discover in the preseason is that Tutu Atwell can handle a heavy workload. He was an impressive 18 of 29 passes for 129 yards. While he saw a lot of passes thrown his way, his 7.2 yards-per-completion is hardly the stuff to threaten the back end of any defense. But keep in mind that he was targeted by Bryce Perkins, not Matthew Stafford.
There is no evidence to presume that Atwell will simply pick up where DeSean Jackson left off in this Rams offense. Of course, with such little usage, even trying to define Jackson’s role would be a bit difficult at this point. What we do know is that Tutu Atwell is incredibly fast. And we know that when he appeared on the football field in preseason games, Atwell’s presence changed the defensive formation significantly to protect against the deep ball.
Can Tutu Atwell rip the back end off the defensive secondary as effectively as DeSean Jackson did? Probably not at first. But given time, he could prove to be an effective weapon for the LA Rams. So what are we waiting for?
Tutu Atwell cannot control what NFL analysts or draft scouts say about him. He cannot control what you think about him. All he can do is control what happens on the football field, and what he does to claim that football when it is heading his way, and then what he does with that football once he has possession of it.
It’s now or never, Tutu Atwell. Hit ’em with your best shot. Fire away.