Draft 2021 – Pick#1: Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville

Player Bio
Chatarius “Tutu” Atwell is the son of one of the top receivers in University of Minnesota football history. The younger Tutu started for four years at famed Miami Northwestern High School, winning Miami-Dade County Player of the Year as a senior quarterback. Louisville put him to work immediately, giving him two starts in 12 games (24 receptions, 406 yards, 16.9 average, two touchdowns). Atwell became a top playmaker in 2019, garnering first-team All-ACC honors after leading the conference with 1,276 receiving yards and 12 receiving TDs on his 70 catches (18.2 per). He also rushed eight times for 29 yards (3.6 per) and returned four punts for 84 yards (21.0 per). Atwell repeated first-team all-conference accolades in 2020 (46 receptions, 625 yards, 13.6 average, team-high seven TDs), playing in nine games with seven starts before opting out to begin preparing for the NFL draft. — by Chad Reuter

Draft Projection
Round 4

Rail-thin slot receiver with electrifying speed and a history of hitting the home run. The problem for Atwell could be the question of whether he offers up a diversified enough skill set for teams to take a chance on such a small frame. He’s not a competitive pass catcher in traffic and doesn’t have the play strength to finish contested catches in the middle of the field. He’s a “gadget-and-go” option. He’s able to handle screens and jet sweeps and has the speed to stretch the field. The big-play potential will be enticing, but his imitations make him a niche talent who needs a very specific role, which could limit his suitors.

  • Brings legitimate deep-ball danger to the field.
  • Breakaway speed as home-run hitter with a stack of long TDs to his name.
  • Touchdowns of 50-plus yards are piled high during his career.
  • Multiple touchdowns on pop pass (jet sweep).
  • Shows ability to slam brakes and open quickly on comeback routes.
  • Easy separation burst from his turns.
  • Hits second and third gear on post routes.
  • Above-average awareness and footwork near boundaries.
  • Had to leave some production on field due to quarterback play.
  • Over-the-shoulder ball-tracking talent.
  • All skin and bones on spindly frame.
  • Falls well-below size standards even for a slot.
  • Lacks committed effort working into the middle of the field.
  • Below-average adjusting routes to traffic and redirection attempts.
  • Can improve working to softest spots of zone for his quarterback.
  • Poor play strength to create enough contested catch space.
  • Will struggle to secure the catch through contact.
  • Needs to play to his best speed on a consistent basis.
  • Very little special teams background.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst

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