As the NFL quarterback position has evolved, so has other offensive positions. While the big, tall, and athletic wide receiver still holds value, the game is shifting. Teams have increasingly valued undersized and speed at the skill positions. One of the most explosive receivers in the country plays at the University of Louisville.
Playmaker TuTu Atwell comes off the bus already making big plays. Atwell’s athletic ability is unmatched by many. This could be a big year for Atwell’s draft prospects. Atwell is a vertical threat, jet sweep speedster, and one of the best screen receivers in the nation. His ability to line up anywhere on the field (backfield, slot, X/Y spots) causes defensive coordinators to create full gameplans around Atwell. If he can build off last year’s success and show that he is a well-rounded receiver, he could push the Cardinals in the top 25. While he’s undersized at 5-foot-9 and 169 pounds, his speed and elusiveness make up for his shortcomings.
Atwell’s level of play is even more impressive given the offense he plays in. Head coach Scott Satterfield has established a run-heavy system scheme at Louisville. That didn’t stop the Atwell from having a record-setting sophomore season. Atwell had 1,272 receiving yards and broke Harry Douglas’ single-season receiving record by 8 yards. He also tied the single-season receiving touchdown record held by DeVante Parker & Ibn Green with 12. Atwell had 21 targets coming 10 or more yards downfield in which he was deemed open
Atwell has two glaring weaknesses, he must work on his run blocking and learn to run the full route tree. He can fly by most defensive backs in the country. To stop Atwell defenses must double team him with safety help take away the big play. But on the next level he must be able to break the defense down and find the soft spot in zone overages with dig routes and make 1st downson curl and comeback routes.
Atwell is the best screen receiver in the nation. His small frame helps him hide behind blockers before he uses his elusiveness to make big plays. He’s also great at being a decoy being set in motion. The NFL is being becoming more creative and could also use Atwell on end around plays and in the wildcat. Out of the back field Atwell is one of the best prerimters players in the nation. Polished foot work on intermedi routes will push Atwell’s stock to a possible 2nd or 3rd round grade.