NFL.com analyst Cynthia Frelund created a list of the most underappreciated player on each roster across the league. For the Los Angeles Rams she chose WR Tutu Atwell, which will likely come as a surprise to most fans.
Los Angeles Rams - Tutu Atwell (age 23)
APY: $1.477 million (rookie contract; 108th among wide receivers).
In the Rams’ eight final games of 2022, Atwell played almost 63 percent of snaps, increasing his win share despite a slew of injuries across the offense, including at quarterback. According to Next Gen Stats, he posted the team’s four fastest speeds of the season as an offensive ball carrier — and had the only four to top 20.5 mph.
At 5-9,165 lbs., Atwell is extremely undersized by NFL standards, and this has led to much criticism for both the player and the team since Los Angeles took him in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Rams fans are quick to point out that the team, who has struggled along the offensive line in recent years, could have chosen Creed Humphrey over Atwell. Humphrey has since been one of the best and most consistent centers in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs.
But it hasn’t been all bad for the receiver. While his rookie season essentially amounted to a red shirt year while the Rams went on to win Super Bowl LVI, Atwell demonstrated that his speed and ability as a deep threat translate to the professional level. He only had a handful of opportunities with Matthew Stafford before the QB was lost for the remainder of the season due to injury, but the two were able to connect on a deep bomb against the New Orleans Saints.
Atwell also found himself open on a number of occasions without Stafford, but reserve QB’s John Wolford and Bryce Perkins didn’t have the arm strength to connect downfield. There was a play against the Seattle Seahawks where Atwell got well behind breakout corner Tariq Woolen, but Wollford underthrew the ball and allowed Woolen to break up the pass.
LA claimed Baker Mayfield late into the regular season, and his arm talent allowed Atwell to earn meaningful reps with a capable passer. That will benefit the young receiver in 2023 and beyond.