Tutu Atwell: Are the LA Rams already out on the WR?

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams wasted no time in targeting deep threat receivers to showcase the upgraded arm talent of veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford. They signed veteran free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson to blow the back end off defenses, and then drafted speedy wide receiver Tutu Atwell to learn from the veteran. Targetted? Yes. Hit the bullseye? Uh, no. More like zero for two on that front.

Usually, a team’s first draft pick is still part of the team’s plans after one season, unless something drastic happens off the field, but the LA Rams may already be out on Tutu Atwell.

The 57th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft may already be in the doghouse after his 2021 season mired with time on the Covid-19 list and ending his season on injured reserve. The LA Rams have not seen much of Atwell, but it may be enough.

The LA Rams, who are reportedly attempting to re-sign Odell Beckham Jr., appear to be assembling an offense around four top receivers. While OBJ would likely not be back until near the end of 2022, the offense would boast record-setting wide receiver Cooper Kupp, a returning Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and OBJ completing the quadfecta for a playoff run.

More importantly, the LA Rams have Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson under contract until at least 2024. An extension is likely for Kupp beyond 2024, and Woods is already under contract until 2026.

Not much was special about Tutu Atwell on the Rams roster

With that talent at the wide receiver position, targets will be at a premium once everyone is healthy. If the LA Rams have absolute faith in Tutu Atwell as their potential fourth receiver, he will have limited time to prove it. In fact, that window may already be shut.

Atwell could prove himself as a returner on special teams, but that may also be difficult. In 2021, Tutu Atwell was given a few opportunities in the return game but did not impress. Ultimately, the Rams discovered a very effective Brandon Powell for special teams, a role that they had hoped Atwell might fulfill.

The 2022 NFL Draft will likely bring in at least one more receiver to compete with Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek for the fifth wide receiver spot. The draft will also bring competition in the return game.

The LA Rams are highly unlikely to cut the second-year wide receiver due to him still having three years on his current contract, but he could stay buried on the depth chart unless the LA Rams find a trade partner or cutting him becomes financially sound. Of course, you never know as the Rams do need draft picks. Would the team cut its losses so quickly? Perhaps if they could wrangle a decent draft pick to do so.

Depth is always beneficial at the wide receiver position, as all the injuries to the 2021 LA Rams team found out. Atwell is likely to be given another chance to redeem himself at some point in the next three years. The problem is that the Rams had already carried a rather unproductive TE Brycen Hopkins on the 53-man roster for two seasons.  Atwell would likely be a similarly unproductive player on the Rams roster. I’m not sure how many of those the team can manage to carry.

Still, the opportunities to redeem himself with the LA Rams are likely to be few and far-between without injuries or other changes to the roster. Things come at you fast in the NFL. Perhaps the window for Tutu Atwell’s moment to shine on the LA Rams roster has already zipped by.

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