The Los Angeles Rams added another potential weapon to the offense by selecting Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell with the No. 57 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Head coach Sean McVay made it clear that the Rams were looking for more explosive plays on offense leading up to the acquisition of quarterback Matthew Stafford. Although the Rams managed to sign a veteran speedster in DeSean Jackson to a one-year deal this offseason, it is clear that bringing in another playmaker was a top priority.
Atwell’s 4.32 speed made him an intriguing prospect leading up to the draft. However, his 5-foot-9, 155-pound frame clearly raised some concerns at the next level.
Regardless, the Rams kept in contact with Atwell throughout the draft process. He even revealed that receivers coach Eric Yarber was the one that foreshadowed his potential selection in the second round.
“I had a couple of zoom calls with them. The zoom calls went great, very well. Wide Receivers Coach (Eric Yarber) told me, ‘Don’t be surprised if I don’t let you go past the second round,’ so, I always stuck to that and my agent was telling me a couple of things and it was sounding great. I was just ready, and I was excited for it. My heart was beating fast.”
As a result, Atwell was understandably not surprised to hear his name called for L.A.
“No. Pretty much, like I said, we had a lot of calls. Coach told me I’d be a good role (player) and a good fit for their offense and how are they going to be able to use me. So, I wasn’t surprised. Coach kept his word and I appreciate that.”
While Atwell’s diminutive size has been deemed as major weakness, he uses that doubt as further motivation to make it an advantage.
“I just come with a chip on my shoulder at all times, no matter what the situation is, and I’m going to go get it. So, I’m just ready for the season to start and ready to get to it.”
The Rams made headlines with their efforts to revamp the offense with the addition of Stafford, His status as one of the NFL’s premier arm talents paired with McVay’s offensive prowess gives Atwell good reason to be excited.
“It feels great. On those Zoom calls we did a couple of plays, I got a good feeling for them – I knew what I was doing. We had a test, he tested me – I did everything, I answered most of the questions right and it was a nice conversation between me and the coaches.”
Having no shortage of weapons on offense is certainly a good problem to have given the make-up of this team from top to bottom. Even if there are plenty of mouths to feed for Stafford, McVay’s desire to incorporate a bona fide deep threat into the mix indicates Atwell will have an opportunity to etch out an immediate role for himself as a rookie.