The Los Angeles Rams’ receiving corps underwent drastic change as the 2021 season unfolded: rookies Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris were lost early in the season with injuries, the team signed star Odell Beckham, Jr. midseason, and veteran Robert Woods was injured shortly after the team signed OBJ.
But this state of transition has yet to subside - LA signed the physical Allen Robinson from the Chicago Bears in free agency and permanently moved on from Woods when they traded him to the Tennessee Titans. OBJ is still unsigned, though there’s a possibility he returns to catch passes from Matthew Stafford in 2022.
No NFL depth chart is set in stone in May, but it’s fair to say there is some uncertainty amongst the Rams’ receiving ranks this season. Should Beckham return, Los Angeles would seem to have a surplus of pass catchers. If he doesn’t, the Rams will need young players like Van Jefferson, Atwell, Harris, and Ben Skowronek to carve out situational roles.
Fortunately for LA, head coach Sean McVay has seemed impressed with the performance Tutu Atwell during offseason workouts this spring. In an interview with Rams Wire McVay mentioned Atwell’s name on multiple occasions.
On finding a deep threat with the return of Jefferson and addition of Robinson:
“I still believe that Tutu can be that guy... But by no means is the book written on Tutu Atwell. He had the (season-ending) shoulder injury. He’s looked really good. He’s done a great job of responding the right way.”
On young players expected to step up in 2022:
“Tutu Atwell’s a guy that got injured... I think he’s looked really good this offseason program up to this point.”
think Kyle Fuller felt a little uncomfortable with Tutu Atwell's speed up top? pic.twitter.com/sEzjOl2PEH— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) August 31, 2021
McVay’s praise is promising for the young receiver. Even if OBJ returns and Jefferson still has a significant role, there should still be room for Atwell to make an impact - he’s one of the most unique players on the Rams roster and could provide a spark as a punt/kick returner, offensive gadget player, and designated deep threat.
While Atwell’s career so far - considering he was selected in the second round of the draft - has been a disappointment, there is still time for the second-year player to turn things around. Could there be big things in store for the speedy receiver in 2022?