Tutu Atwell Will Prove Everyone Wrong

Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver Tutu Atwell. Photo Credit: Louisville Football Twitter
Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver Tutu Atwell. Photo Credit: Louisville Football Twitter

The Rams are a lot of things but they’re never boring. Last year they used their two second-picks, not on a linebacker or offensive lineman like the internet told them to, instead opting for Cam Akers and Van Jefferson (more on him in a minute) and the internet had a meltdown.

Once again, with a second-round pick and in dire need of a linebacker and an offensive lineman, the Rams selected a receiver despite many quality players at both needs falling to them.

When Seattle selected a receiver they were roundly mocked because receivers aren’t going to protect Russell Wilson from Aaron Donald. But then the Rams turned around and did the same thing, and not only did they draft a receiver in Tutu Atwell, but they drafted a guy who is 5’9 and 155 lbs. Naturally, fans erupted into an orgy of rage and befuddlement the likes of which are only reserved for cataclysmic events like the “How I Met Your Mother” finale.

Now that the digital dust has cleared, the pick actually makes sense. Tutu Atwell might not be an impact rookie, at least right away, but he fits in with the ethos the Rams had for their entire 2021 draft.

Could the Rams have taken Creed Humphrey or Quinn Minerez at the center spot so they have a young gun to protect Matthew Stafford? Yes. Could they have drafted a blue-chip linebacker like Jabril Cox to fortify their one black hole on defense? Absolutely. So why didn’t they?

Well in regards to linebacker, the Rams made zero friends taking Ernest Jones who, while a great tackler, doesn’t scream “IMPACT” player but that’s another article. So why did they go with Tutu? He isn’t slotted to be a returner as he wasn’t one in college and with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and DeSean Jackson, how does he crack the starting lineup. Well, based on the Rams also drafting a super-athletic tight end in Jacob Harris in the fifth round it’s clear the Rams wanted speed, and say what you want about Tutu, but the kid is Barry Allen level fast, running a 4.32 40. Similar to Van Jefferson being insurance for Josh Reynolds and Cooper Kupp in the beginning and investment in the future, Tutu is insurance for DeSean Jackson but also their future as well.

DeSean Jackson might still have it but he’s injury-prone, and like Tugg Speedman, he’s on the wrong side of 30. Tutu gives them someone else Stafford can BOMB it to which is something McVay felt the offense sorely needed. His three primary receivers are all obviously capable of getting open but they aren’t burners. McVay intimated many, MANY times that he felt like he wanted to take the restrictor plate off and give the Red Dragon a little juice but he couldn’t because personnel kept it street legal. That’s not going to be a problem anymore. They have a quarterback that can let ‘er rip and the weapons to make that happen. His small frame is a cause for concern, sure, but if he’s catching fire in the open field the defenders will have to catch him first.

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Still not convinced because this is an LA football site and this might simply reek of homerism? Ok, well Tutu is not only a long-distance target BUT he has other uses as well. Since McVay came to LA he’s loved the jet sweep and lately, they haven’t been able to utilize it both because their run game was being rebuilt and also Jared Goff didn’t have the foot speed to make it effective once defenses figured that out. Stafford takes care of the latter issue and Tutu can be plugged into a spot in the backfield because again, he’s fast.

So the Rams used their first pick of 2021 to essentially take a Tavon Austin-like figure? No, that’s slander. Tutu will help out that part of the game immediately and he has one other little skill that won’t show up often but it’s there. He used to play quarterback in high school (so did Cam Akers), so if McVay felt like being cute he can do that. Sure, that won’t bear fruit often but the point is Tutu is someone that has many applications. He still has to show it obviously but the potential is there and in the future, he will take over for DeSean Jackson.

All of the above might not win over the cranks who are still throwing a tantrum that they didn’t take a center. Tutu Atwell is a gamble for sure, but the Rams can afford to gamble because they are in a position to win now and can afford to build for the future while improving in the present. The Rams are rolling with Austin Corbett (who yes is a free agent next season), or Brian Allen or Coleman Shelton at the center position and they signed two undrafted tackles, one of which is a 6’7 guy from Italy (Viva Italia!).

As far as linebacker goes, Ernest Jones, as well as Chris Garrett, are going to cut their teeth on special teams which fans must know is a NEED as they were abysmal in that area. Eventually, Jones and Garrett could be valuable because they are great tacklers. Maybe not elite athletes but the Rams need guys who have strong instincts and can wrap guys up.

The internet might be saltier than the Cheeseburger Sub they sell at SoFi, but when Tutu has an EXPLOSIVE play at some point this season they’ll come around. Besides, if internet reactions indicate success it wouldn’t have taken a decade for people to appreciate how great “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” is.

Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver Tutu Atwell. Photo Credit: Louisville Football Twitter

Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver Tutu Atwell. Photo Credit: Louisville Football Twitter