It's make or break for LA Rams WR Tutu Atwell in his contract year

As LA Rams WR Tutu Atwell has improved, his chances of succeeding on this roster have decreased. How can that be, and can Atwell impress enough in 2024 to warrant a contract extension? Let's discuss
Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Tre Tomlinson, Tutu Atwell
Los Angeles Rams Minicamp, Tre Tomlinson, Tutu Atwell / Jayne Kamin-Oncea/GettyImages
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Speed vs. Durability is a silent but raging debate in the NFL

If you want to fixate on the characteristics that most NFL teams gravitate towards when it comes time for another NFL Draft, you have to place speed among the most sought-after qualities for potential NFL wide receivers. All things being equal, the fast guy gets the nod.

Ah, but that is the rub after all, isn't it? How many prospects on an NFL possess the same height, weight, route running ability, soft hands, physicality, and ability to block, with the only difference is straight line speed? For that matter, how many times does an NFL wide receiver need to rely on rote straight line speed alone to make plays?

The thing is, speed is highly coveted as a rookie prospect, but quickly devalues in the face of true NFL competition. How else can you rationalize the fact that 176 NFL players were selected in the 2023 NFL Draft before the LA Rams selected former BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua? And for that matter, how is it that the All-Time NFL Rookie Receiver Record holder was projected to be selected in Rounds 6 or 7? What was it about Puka Nacua that did not find favor in the eyes of draft scouts and analysts?

Two factors that played a huge role in his slide on many NFL teams' draft boards was the fact that Nacua ran a 4.57-second 40-yard-dash time at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. It was that speed combined with a less than optimal injury history that soured projections for Nacua. But how realistic are those criteria?