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Rams draft WR Tutu Atwell with No. 57 pick

Louisville WR Tutu Atwell goes to the Los Angeles Rams with the No. 57 pick in the 2021 draft. Will he be a fantasy football asset to start his career?

Tutu Atwell #1 of the Louisville Cardinals in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on September 26, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Former Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Tutu Atwell is one of the fastest receivers in this draft class not named Ja’Marr Chase, Elijah Moore, or DeVonta Smith. Atwell was selected with the No. 57 overall pick in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft and is headed to the Los Angeles Rams.

Last season for Louisville, Atwell was one of Malik Cunningham’s favorite receiving targets next to Dez Fitzpatrick. The 5-foot-9 wideout recorded a team-high 46 receptions for 625 yards and seven touchdowns. He has the speed that could make him a playmaker in the next level.

Scouting Report

Atwell ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at his pro day, which will intrigue a lot of teams, who may lack speed at the wide receiver position. The 5-foot-9 wide receiver lined up in the slot for the Louisville Cardinals and should play there at the next level. Atwell’s size might be used against him, but out in space he could create a couple of big plays.

He has shown the ability to get behind the defense and can pull away from defenders on crossing routes. For Atwell to succeed at the next level, he’ll need to go to a team that uses their wide receivers in space and various motion concepts. The 5-foot-9 Atwell reminds me a lot of Tavon Austin when he came out of West Virginia.

Fantasy football impact

Rookie

Given the Rams wide receiving corps, this pick is a bit of a question mark for me. Atwell’s size doesn’t bode well for him in terms of typical wide receiver production, but his versatility and speed probably appeal to McVay’s creative side. Atwell formally measured in at 5’8” and 149 pounds, which is essentially unprecedented for any type of fantasy football production. There are enough weapons in this offense that it’s difficult to imagine him touching the ball enough as a rookie to make him viable for fantasy.

Long-term

Given the size concerns, it’s difficult to imagine Atwell making any type of splash in fantasy leagues — even with time to develop in the NFL. WR Robert woods is signed through 2025 (though carries a manageable dead cap of $6.4 million in 2023) and Cooper Kupp through 2023. I’ll pass on Atwell in all fantasy football formats, perhaps outside of dynasty best ball leagues where there’s no need to set a lineup.