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Second-Year Receiver Named Rams' Surprise Offseason Standout

Tutu Atwell is aiming for a bounce-back season after a tough rookie campaign.

After signing established veteran Allen Robinson II to pair with superstar Cooper Kupp and blossoming third-year pro Van Jefferson, the Los Angeles Rams' receiver room is one of the deepest in the league.

Tutu Atwell, the Rams' second-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is a notable name missing from that trio of wideouts. However, if Atwell's performance this offseason is any indication, he's well on his way to making the group a quartet.

According to ESPN, Atwell has been the Rams' surprise offseason standout.

The 2021 second-round pick's improvement this spring was pointed out by both quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Cooper Kupp during minicamp. Stafford said he's noticed that "everything" Atwell does "seems to be that much more intentional." Atwell played 10 offensive snaps last season but had a role on special teams before he injured his shoulder and was placed on injured reserve in November. The Rams' top three receivers (Kupp, Allen Robinson II and Van Jefferson) are set to start the season, but Atwell could play a role in 2022. - ESPN's Sarah Barshop

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While Atwell's rookie season didn't provide the on-field production neither he nor the Rams expected, it was a valuable learning experience for the 22-year-old.

Rams receivers coach Eric Yarber said that Atwell had to learn how to "prepare like a pro." The speedy Atwell had several strong mentors in that category, including Kupp and the since-traded Robert Woods.

“He’s progressing very, very well mentally and physically," Yarber said. "The game has slowed down for him. He knows his plays like the back of his hand. It’s almost like he took things for granted (last year). But now, he saw how Cooper and Robert Woods prepared and how it translated to on-the-field (success). I was going to suggest he do that anyway, but he did it before I even suggested it. That says a lot about how he’s serious about this and he wants to be a good pro.”

Moving forward, the former Louisville Cardinal is sure to have an impact on special teams, but the Rams didn't draft Atwell in the second round one year ago just to be a special teamer.

With Atwell's speed and Stafford's ability to push the ball downfield, there's serious potential for Atwell to create explosive plays for the Rams' offense. As he enters year two, look for Atwell to come into his own and force defenses to respect his field-stretching ability.