Tutu Atwell 2021 NFL Draft Profile

The Louisville wide receiver declared early for the league, and is expected to be the first Cardinal taken in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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(Photo of Tutu Atwell: Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports)

Background

Born Oct. 7, 1999 (age 21) to father Chatarius Atwell and mother La'Kia Firsher. Father played wide receiver at Minnesota from 1994 to 1997, setting the school record for receptions. A native of Miami, Atwell attended Northwestern HS where he was a four-year starter at quarterback. He lead them to 2017 Class 6A Championship, and was named the Miami-Dade County Player of the Year.

Despite passing for over 4,000 yards and rushing for 1,500 over the course of his high school career, Atwell received attention mainly from Group of Five schools, and his only other Power Five offer came from Illinois. A three-star prospect who was regarded as the No. 728 recruit nationally and No. 110 in the state of Florida, he converted to wide receiver upon his arrival at Louisville.

Atwell had a solid freshman year in Bobby Petrino's final year as Louisville's head coach. He appeared in all 12 games, finsihed fourth on team with 24 receptions, good for 406 receiving yards yards and a pair of touchdowns.

When Scott Satterfield was brought in to guide the Cardinals starting with the 2019 season, he broke out. In 13 games and 11 starts, Atwell led the ACC in receiving yards with 1,276 receiving yards - breaking the single season school record of 1,265 set by Harry Douglas in 2007. His 12 receiving touchdowns also led the conference, resulting in him being named First team All-ACC.

Thanks in part to defenses keying on him, as well as injuries, Atwell had a slight dip in production during his junior year. In nine total games, he finished with just 625 yards and seven touchdowns, but still led the Cardinals in receptions with 46. Atwell elected to forgo his senior season and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Measurements and Pro Day

Louisville lists Atwell at 5'9" and 165 pounds. At Louisville's Pro Day, he measured in at 5 feet and 8 7/8 inches (5087) and 155 pounds. He also had 8 7/8" hands and 29 2/8″ arms, along with a 69 6/8" wingspan. Long ran the 40-yard dash in 4.32, the short shuttle in 4.09 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.87 seconds. Finally, Atwell leapt 9 feet and 9 inches (117″) in the broad jump and 33″ in the vertical. Based on these measurements and numbers, Atwell earned a Relative Athletic Score of 6.37 out of 10, ranking 911th out of 2511 wide receivers from 1987 through 2021 (64th percentile).

Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Blazing straight line speed, can beat coverage over the top on vertical routes with relative ease.
  • YAC potential is off the charts. No matter where he gets the ball, Atwell is always a home run threat thanks to his agility with the ball in his hands.
  • Great release at the line of scrimmage, can reach max speed in a short amount of time thanks to excellent acceleration.

Weaknesses

  • Extremely small frame. Can easily be overpowered or influenced by defenders more physical than him.
  • Size could ultimately lead to durability concerns at the next level, especially considering injuries sustained in 2020.
  • Average route runner, also needs to expand route tree if he wants to be more than just a vertical threat or gadget player at the next level.
  • Relatively small catch radius can sometimes lead to drops, also has a tendency to rely on body catches.

NFL Comparison

Darnell Mooney (Tulane - 2016-19, Chicago Bears - 2020)

Highlights

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