How a lack of an NFL Combine could hurt Tutu Atwell

For all intents and purposes, the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine has been cancelled for this year.

Typically, the annual event is hosted inside of Lucas Oil Stadium – home of the Indianapolis Colts -to get a better gauge on the physical abilities of NFL Draft prospects. But that will not be the case after the NFL weighed its options on the event recently.

Former Louisville wide receiver Tutu Atwell would have been a virtual lock to receive an invite to the prestigious event where he would have gotten the opportunity to be officially measured and weighed in. In addition, he would have gotten to run a nationally televised 40-yard dash, short shuttle, and other drills to measure explosiveness.

Now, he will have to workout at a “pro day” which is essentially a combine for individual schools. rather than a group assembling together for one large workout among draft prospects. Now, Atwell will run and do on-field drills at Louisville’s pro day on campus.

Why this development can hurt Atwell’s draft stock

While many scouts and general managers already have an idea that he possesses a lack of size, they may want to see an official weigh-in for Atwell. Many teams will have size thresholds that they want to meet before they will even consider selecting a player in the draft.

On gocards.com, Atwell’s measurements are listed as 5’9″ 165-pounds. These types of program websites are a ballpark and many times will inflate a player’s measurements for one reason or another to list them as bigger than they actually are.

This could certainly be the case for Atwell as well.

Teams will likely be searching very hard to find his true measurables leading up to the draft. But this only makes the process more difficult for NFL personnel who would have had that straight forward information available to them in March at the Combine.

His speed and play speak for themselves. Even if he did not run a 40-yard dash, the tape clearly shows a player with dynamic speed at the next level. The one true concern is size profile.

Adding weight would help Atwell’s case

Mockdraftable.com lists six receivers in the last 20 years that have weighed in at 165 pounds or less that have readily available NFL Combine measurements. None have played more than five NFL seasons and the leader in receiving yards among those six is JJ Nelson with 1,475 career yards.

If he is unable to get up to 175 pounds, history shows that he will have a very difficult time sticking in the league because of a lack of size. But anywhere under 170 is likely to be detrimental unless he is exception to a rule that has 20-plus years of standing.

While he could be exception after three years of fantastic play at Louisville, history does not stand with the accomplished Cardinal.

Overall

A consistent member of the All-Name and ACC teams, Tutu Atwell is likely to be drafted barring some sort of pre-draft disaster. Not having the Scouting Combine will just force NFL representatives to take a closer look at him.

If everything goes right with measuring in for Atwell, look for him to gain some buzz as a late Day 2 player in the 2021 NFL Draft.