Tutu Atwell was shockingly picked as the Rams’ most underappreciated player
Tutu Atwell’s rookie season in 2021 was a major disappointment, failing to touch the ball even a single time on offense before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. He definitely improved in 2022, contributing much more as a receiver with 18 catches for 298 yards with one touchdown. He also added 34 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground.
His performance last season was encouraging, but it’s hard to go as far as to say he’s underappreciated. It’s true that fans aren’t particularly high on him after two down years, but it’s a stretch to claim he’s somehow underrated.
NFL.com picked every team’s most underappreciated player entering the 2023 season and Atwell was the selection for the Rams. The case isn’t particularly strong, either.
In the Rams’ final eight 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.
Atwell did get more playing time down the stretch, but that wasn’t necessarily because he was putting up big numbers. It was partly due to the injuries the Rams suffered at the position, losing Allen Robinson and Cooper Kupp. Van Jefferson was also being eased back after undergoing two knee surgeries, so he didn’t have a reception until Week 9.
As of now, Atwell isn’t even a starter. He’s behind Kupp, Jefferson and probably Ben Skowronek on the depth chart, needing to prove himself again in order to earn meaningful snaps in 2023.
The Rams don’t have many underappreciated players on their roster right now because so many guys are unproven, but Rob Havenstein and Tyler Higbee come to mind and would be more logical choices than Atwell.
More Latest Rams news!
Rams' 2023 draft class ranked 19th in NFL based on 29 expert grades
Rams' defense will be tested by mobile QBs often in 2023
ESPN ranks Rams' offseason as 2nd-worst in the NFL