Threat to score and rip off long gains on any touch
Consistently creates separation
Burst out of his breaks
Dangerous run-after-the-catch skills
Stretches a defense vertically
Ready to contribute quickly
Able to hold up in the NFL?
Could be limited to being a slot receiver
Summary: Over the past few seasons, Atwell was one of the most explosive receiving weapons in college football. Atwell flashed his big-play ability as a freshman when he averaged 17 yards per reception with 24 catches for 406 yards and two scores. As a sophomore, he was even better, averaging 18.2 yards per catch while snatching 70 passes for 1,276 yards with 12 touchdowns. Atwell continued playing well in 2020, recording 46 receptions for 625 yards and seven touchdowns before opting out of the remainder of the season following nine games.
There is no doubt Atwell has some serious speed for the NFL. He is a true home run hitter who is a threat to score on any touch of the ball. Atwell is extremely fast, giving him the ability to run past defenders and explode down the field for a long gain. With his great burst, serious acceleration, and shiftiness, Atwell can generate quick separation, and he bolts downfield in a blur. Atwell also has the quality vision and feel to track the ball well, and he shows an advance ability to make over-the-shoulder receptions. Atwell runs quality routes and has sudden athleticism as well.
Atwell is very undersized for the NFL. He is short, light, thinly framed, and lacking in strength. Atwell could struggle with the length of NFL cornerbacks, and his small size could lead to him having issues maintaining possession through contact, and avoiding injury is a concern given how tiny Atwell is for the professional ranks. Even for a slot receiver, Atwell is really undersized for the NFL.
If Atwell were 20 pounds heavier and a little taller, he would be a first-round pick because of his game-changing speed. As it stands, Atwell looks like a second- or third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: John Brown Atwell is similar to Brown. Brown (5-11, 178) is an undersized deep-threat receiver with serious speed. Atwell is even smaller than Brown, but Atwell is probably a little faster. Brown was a third-round pick in 2014, and Atwell could go on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft. I could see Atwell being a solid pro wide receiver similar to Brown.