(Photo of Tutu Atwell: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Out of the eight Louisville football players to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, wide receiver Tutu Atwell is expected to be one of the first Cardinals to be taken off the board.
While it will more than likely be him or running back Javian Hawkins as the first Louisville player in this year's draft to be selected, many draft experts and analysts project him to be a mid-late Day 2 selection, or even early into Day 3.
However, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah believes that the 5-foot-9, 165-pound speedster has very real first-round potential.
A former scout for three different NFL franchises who later became a draft analyst for the NFL Network and writer for NFL.com, Jeremiah tabbed Atwell as the No. 31 overall 2021 NFL Draft Prospect in his first prospect ranking of the current draft cycle.
"Atwell is an undersized wideout who seems like he's playing with an invisible jetpack on his back, Jeremiah writes. "He primarily lined up in the slot at Louisville. He has rare burst and gets up to top speed in an instant. He consistently creates 5-plus yards of separation on vertical routes and can tap into another gear when the ball is in the air.
"He isn't asked to run a wide variety of routes, but he's loose/fluid and should be able to handle a bigger menu at the next level. He excels on bubble screens, quick hitters and jet sweeps. He is tough, but lacks the strength to break tackles. Fortunately, he can use his speed to navigate around defenders in space. Overall, Atwell is going to be a fun toy for his offense at the next level. He's capable of scoring from anywhere on the field."
In his first 2021 NFL Mock Draft, Jeremiah has Atwell joining former Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander in Green Bay, and getting picked with the No. 29 overall pick held by the Packers.
"I know the Packers don't traditionally draft wide receivers in the first round, but I love this potential fit," Jeremiah writes. "They don't have anyone with Atwell's skill set on their offense. He is a blur who can be utilized on jet sweeps and to stretch the field. He would be the perfect complement to Davante Adams and Allen Lazard."
The Miami, Fla. native saw a slight dip in production during his junior campaign due to injuries and defenses keying on him after a breakout sophomore year. He led the Cardinals with 46 receptions and seven touchdowns, and was second in receiving yards with 625.
Atwell burst onto the scene during Satterfield's first year at the helm. The 5-foot-9 & 165-pound receiver led the ACC with 1,276 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. The latter tied the single-season school record while the former broke it.
He finished his Louisville career with 140 receptions for 2,307 yards and 21 touchdowns. The yardage mark is good for eighth in school history, while the touchdown total in good for fifth.
Louisville ended the 2020 season at 4-7 overall and 3-7 in the ACC.
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