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The Los Angeles Rams haven’t had a first-round pick since 1973, but they’ve certainly made some excellent draft picks since then. Granted, the Rams had a first-round pick as recently as Jared Goff in 2016, but it’s still an extremely long time for a team that has been as good as they have been to be without a first-round pick. Having premium real estate in the NFL Draft is basically foreign to the Los Angeles Rams, but they could have found a diamond in the rough in the 2023 NFL Draft with fifth-round pick Puka Nacua of BYU.

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We can’t say we didn’t see it coming, but Nacua has played a much bigger role for the Rams early on than a lot of people really expected. With Cooper Kupp recovering from a hamstring injury, the Rams threw Nacua to the wolves in Week 1 and he responded in a big way.

Is Puka Nacua a potential rookie of the year candidate for the Los Angeles Rams?

After Week 1, Nacua was the NFL’s leading receiver among rookies with 119 yards on 10 receptions and a whopping 15 targets. If you take on Cooper Kupp’s role in the Los Angeles Rams offense, you better be able to handle a high volume of targets. Nacua’s response of 119 yards on 10 catches showed veteran poise beyond his years, and there’s no reason to think the Rams will ease up on the load going forward.

At least, until Kupp himself returns. But even then, Nacua will be able to provide more than just relief to someone like Cooper Kupp. If he makes plays like this, how do they keep him off the field?

It’s pretty good, overall, to see Sean McVay make the most of the playmakers he has on his roster right now, besides Cooper Kupp. Not only was Nacua eating in Week 1, but we also saw Tutu Atwell break the 100-yard barrier with a series of big plays, along with Van Jefferson, Cam Akers, Tyler Higbee and Kyren Williams all making plays in the Rams field. road victory against the Seattle Seahawks.

With such a young roster, a lot of people had written off this Los Angeles Rams team, but you can’t count out a team led by Sean McVay, especially while Matthew Stafford is under center. They were Super Bowl champions just two seasons ago.

And if Nacua can keep this up, the Los Angeles Rams will once again be tough offensively and he could end up being a real rookie of the year candidate. There will be plenty of competition this season for that distinction given the number of talented rookies entering the league in 2023, but Nacua is in a great position to be very productive.

#Los #Angeles #Rams #surprise #candidate #rookie #year

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