Can LA Rams WR Tutu Atwell emerge as WR3 from training camp?

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams have roster battles at practically every position heading into the 2022 training camp. While many of the starting roles are established, there is plenty of battling going on right now for the 53-man roster, rotational roles, and yes, even the occasional starting spot. But one area that seemed fairly established on the team is the wide receiver group.

The team is welcoming back starting wide receiver Cooper Kupp. The Rams front office signed free agent wide receiver Allen Robinson to take over the other starting wide receiver slot. And third-year wide receiver Van Jefferson, who himself is coming off a season of gaining over 800 yards through the air, is the third wide receiver this season, and a third potential 1000-yard receiver.

Not so fast, says ESPN’s Sarah Bishop. In their 2022 NFL training camp bold prediction article, Bishop suggests that second-year wide receiver Tutu Atwell will leapfrog Jefferson in training camp to take the WR3 role for the 2022 NFL season.

I love the sentiment. I’m all for Tutu Atwell having a surprisingly good season for the Rams. But I have one simple objection to that prediction. Let’s see how well the guy does by playing more than 10 offensive snaps before suggesting he will suddenly take over for a player who put up 800+ yards of offense a year ago.

Even if Atwell does impress the coaching staff enough to earn his way into the Rams’ offensive rotation, there remain the limits of his height and weight. Let’s revisit the Rams’ rotation with veteran WR DeSean Jackson. In seven games, Jackson saw 100 offensive snaps, was targeted 15 times, and made eight catches. That, in my opinion, is the upper limit of Atwell in the Rams offense this season.

That equates to 242 offensive snaps and 37 targets. If he is effective, that could work out to more than 400 yards and a couple of touchdowns. That doesn’t come close to the amount of work necessary to be considered a WR3 in this offense.

But it would be a significant improvement from what we witnessed a year ago, nevertheless.

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