When the Los Angeles Rams introduced that Cooper Kupp would start the season on injured reserve, that was once intended to noticeably obstruct their offense. He was once focused 191 instances right through his first-team All-Professional 2021 marketing campaign. In 2022, Kupp had 98 objectives in handiest 9 video games. In his position has stepped rookie fifth-round pick out Puka Nacua. He has been focused 35 instances in two video games, and hauled in 25 receptions.
Nacua was the primary participant in NFL historical past to tally a minimum of 10 receptions for 100 yards in every of his first two video games. His 15-catch, 147 yards efficiency on Sunday broke the rookie document for receptions in a single recreation. The Rams will have misplaced 30-23 to the San Francisco 49ers, however Nacua proved in that recreation that he’s right here to stick as a featured possibility within the Rams offense.
The Rams decided on Nacua out of BYU within the 5th around of the 2023 NFL Draft. They have got been inspired by means of the younger guy’s efficiency during the offseason. His poise and playmaking has allowed Matt Stafford to really feel wheel and deal even together with his best move sidelined for a minimum of 4 weeks.
Nacua started his occupation at Washington. In his moment 12 months with that program, the COVID 2020 season wherein the Huskies performed handiest 4 video games, he averaged 16.8 yards in step with catch. He made up our minds to switch to BYU in 2021 together with his brother Samson. His first 12 months in Provo, Nacua averaged 18.7 yards in step with reception, hauled in six touchdowns, and in addition ran for 148 yards. As a senior, he had a Deebo Samuel form of season speeding for 209 yards and 5 touchdowns.
He went low within the draft as a result of considerations about his velocity and quickness, despite the fact that a few of his easiest performances at BYU have been towards Energy 5 combatants. In a recreation towards Arkansas ultimate season, Nacua stuck 8 passes for 147 yards, and a landing, and in addition reached the top zone two times at the floor.
The remainder of the NFL’s loss has been rather the acquire for the Rams. Via two weeks they have got discovered a participant who — regardless of his formative years — has been ready to click on with Stafford and assist the Rams tread water at 1-1 thru two video games. Although the 49ers are a buzzsaw, the Rams have been ready to stay alongside of them for 3 quarters. If now not for 2 second-half interceptions — one in every of which went instantly during the fingers of a large open Kyren Williams — they may have pulled off a large dissatisfied.
If they’d knocked off the mighty 49ers a significant explanation why would had been Nakua. This fifth-round draft pick out was once focused 20 instances in his moment NFL recreation by means of a veteran quarterback with a Tremendous Bowl ring.
The long run is vivid for Nakua, and for the Rams whose “F them selections” option to the NFL Draft after all stuck up with them ultimate season — together with accidents to Stafford, Kupp, and Aaron Donald. Once they upload Kupp again to this offense, the Rams may as soon as once more have one of the dynamic passing assaults in all the NFL.
In fact as soon as Kupp returns he’s going to be the focus of the offense, and get the lionshare of the objectives. Alternatively, the pass-catching risk who has stuck 25 passes in two video games, and the eye of all the NFL, has the Rams already considering playoffs twelve months after going 5-12.
I suppose Nakua is fast sufficient for the NFL in any case.