Amid roster "re-tool", these 3 LA Rams could enjoy a breakout 2023 season
Player 1: WR Tutu Atwell
Rams WR Tutu Atwell has been a polarizing figure in the eyes of Rams fans to say the least. In the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, most fans expected the Rams to draft Kansas City Chiefs OL Creed Humphrey. Instead, Rams head coach Sean McVay opted for the flashy speedster out of the University of Louisville.
Media and fans alike questioned Atwell's size and his ability to take the punishment dished out to NFL WRs. Sean McVay also struggled to get Atwell involved in the offense in 2021 and much of 2022. With the injuries the offense faced toward the end of the season, the more of Atwell we saw. He surely answered some of those questions.
In limited time this season, Tutu showed that he possesses the skills it takes to be an effective receiver. He can take the punishment as well. Whether it was his 62-yard touchdown in New Orleans after burning Saints CB Chris Harris Jr., or his impressive one-handed grab against Seattle in Week 13. Tutu Atwell has definitely flashed his play-making ability for this team.
Atwell caught only 18 passes this season, but the real number to pay attention to is 16.6. That is how many yards per reception he averaged, which would have been good for 5th in the NFL in 2022.
Before the injury to Rams QB Matthew Stafford that ended his 2022 season, he started to develop some in-game chemistry with Atwell. Tutu possesses natural WR skills, he is much more than a gadget guy.
Outside of Rams WR Cooper Kupp, there is not too much to be excited about in that room. The Rams are actively trying to find a trade partner for WR Allen Robinson, and Van Jefferson is entering the final year of his rookie contract coming off an injury riddled season. Pair those things with the Rams' reported interest in FA WR and former Ram Odell Beckham Jr, there could be plenty of opportunity for Tutu to shine in 2023.
The Rams are in need of kick and punt returners in 2023, and Atwell could absolutely fill those voids. With a full sample size next season, I could very well imagine Atwell in a DeSean Jackson-like role. A big play guy who stretches defenses down the field, as well as opening up intermediate passing lanes.