If that Los Angeles Rams announced that Cooper Kupp would begin the season on injured reserve, which should significantly hamper their offense. He was targeted 191 times during his 2021 first-team All-Pro season. In 2022, Kupp scored 98 goals in just nine games. Rookie fifth-round pick Puka Nacua has taken his place. He was targeted 35 times and targeted 25 times in two games.
Nacua became the first player in NFL history to record at least 10 receptions for 100 yards in each of his first two games. His 15-catch, 147-yard performance on Sunday broke the rookie record for receptions in a game. The Rams may have lost 30-23 San Francisco 49ersbut Nacua proved in this game that he will remain an important option in the Rams’ offense.
The Rams selected Nacua in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of BYU. They were impressed with the young man’s performance throughout the offseason. His attitude and style of play have allowed Matt Stafford to feel and play the ball, even when his top passer has been sidelined for at least four weeks.
Nacua began his career in Washington. In his second year with this program, the 2020 COVID season, in which the Huskies only played four games, He averaged 16.8 yards per catch. He decided to transfer to BYU in 2021 along with his brother Samson. In his first year in Provo, Nacua averaged 18.7 yards per reception, threw for six touchdowns and also ran for 148 yards. As a senior he had a Deebo Samuel Type of season rushing for 209 yards and five touchdowns.
He landed low in the draft due to concerns about his speed and quickness, although some of his best performances came at BYU against Power 5 opponents. In a game against Arkansas last season, Nacua caught eight passes for 147 yards and a touchdown and also reached the end zone twice on the ground.
The rest of the NFL loss was quite a win for the Rams. Within two weeks, they found a player who, despite his youth, was able to work with Stafford and help the Rams step up their game 1:1 in two games. Even though the 49ers are a hotshot, the Rams were able to keep up with them for three quarters. Without two second-half interceptions – one of which went right through the hands of Kyren Williams – they might have pulled off a massive upset.
If they had beaten the mighty 49ers, Nakua would have been the main reason why. This fifth-round draft pick was targeted 20 times in his second NFL game by a veteran quarterback with a Super Bowl ring.
The future is bright for Nakua and for the Rams, whose f-the-picks approach to the NFL Draft finally caught up with them last season — along with injuries to Stafford, Kupp and Aaron Donald. If they integrate Kupp back into this offense, the Rams could once again have one of the most dynamic passing attacks in the entire NFL.
Once Kupp returns, he will obviously be the focal point of the offense and get the lion’s share of the goals. However, the pass-catching threat, who has caught 25 passes in two games and is attracting the attention of the entire NFL, has the Rams already thinking about the playoffs a year after going 5-12.
I think Nakua is fast enough for the NFL after all.
https://deadspin.com/puka-nacua-rams-rookie-1850850906 Rams rookie Puka Nacua had a star performance