The hype train is running full steam ahead for third-year WR Tutu Atwell ahead of the 2023 season, and PFF is the latest outlet to suggest that the speedster will take a step forward this year.
Brad Spielberger identified three offensive and three defensive players across the NFL primed to improve this season, and Atwell made the cut amongst Chicago Bears OG Teven Jenkins and Carolina Panthers OT Ikem Ekwonu:
Sean McVay called TuTu Atwell "outstanding" and a "real bright spot" on Tuesday.— Blaine Grisak (@bgrisakTST) June 14, 2023
Went on to compliment his versatility, called him a "high capacity learner" and said, "he's becoming a more complete player."
He probably just had to say those things though, right?
WR TUTU ATWELL, LOS ANGELES RAMS
Atwell played just 10 snaps in his rookie 2021 season after being selected in the second round, and even in a limited role last year, he displayed the big-play ability that had him drafted so early in the first place despite his 5-foot-9, 165-pound stature.
Atwell only recorded 18 total receptions on the year, but five of them went for 20 or more yards, and his 17.3 yards per reception ranked eighth among wide receivers on the season. Now that the Rams traded away Allen Robinson II to the Pittsburgh Steelers and didn’t bring in much talent at the wide receiver position this offseason besides drafting BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua in the fifth round, Atwell could have an expanded role.
Last but certainly not least, a full season with a healthy Matthew Stafford could go a long way for Atwell’s deep-threat ability. From 2017-21, Stafford’s 264 completions on passes thrown 15-plus yards downfield ranked the fourth-most among all quarterbacks.
Atwell is currently slotted third on LA’s depth chart at receiver, though Van Jefferson has not yet proven he’s ready to carry that mantle. At a minimum, Atwell figures to be a key rotational piece on offense as a deep threat and gadget player who can use his unique speed to stretch the field both vertically and horizontally—an element the offense was missing last season while Stafford was still healthy.
It’s unlikely that Atwell will ever live up to his second round draft status, especially when you consider the alternatives; however, the Rams offense is desperate for dynamic playmakers and the receiver could become a fan favorite if he fills that role.
Time will tell if Atwell can truly take a step forward in 2023, though momentum seems to be building in his favor.
Detroit loves you right now, TuTu Atwell— Barstool Detroit (@BSMotorCity) January 8, 2023