The Los Angeles Rams had a disastrous 2022 NFL season. However, with the addition of some marquee guys like rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua, the Rams are looking to bounce back in the 2023 season. Nacua has already caught the attention of head coach Sean McVay and is poised to make a significant impact on the team. In this article, we will discuss Nacua's background and his potential impact on the Rams as a roster cut survivor.
Los Angeles Rams' Performance in 2022
The Los Angeles Rams had a very disappointing 2022 NFL season. They finished with a 5-12 record, which was the worst Super Bowl hangover performance in memory. The team struggled with injuries and inconsistent play, leading to a disappointing finish. However, the Rams are looking to bounce back in the 2023 season with a revamped roster that includes several promising rookies. These include Steve Avila, Byron Young, Stetson Bennett, and Puka Nacua.
In this article, we're going to talk about how Nacua might surprise everyone with his performance in 2023.
The Rams' Wide Receiver Squad
First, let's start by looking at the wide receiver situation for the Rams. Cooper Kupp is the team's star receiver, but what if he's not available? Well, that's where players like Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, and, yes, Puka Nacua come in. They would step up to fill the gaps. Ben Skowronek, who's usually a depth receiver, might also get more playtime on special teams if Kupp is out.
That said, the Rams' wide receiver chart is a bit complicated. Jefferson is someone who might still actually get a ton of touches, even if Kupp is healthy. However, the other three options – Atwell, Nacua, and Skowronek – might be just as interesting. Nacua, in particular, could have some great upside.
Meet Puka Nacua
Puka Nacua is a rookie wide receiver drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He used to play college football at the University of Washington, and he was a top-level receiver. In college, Nacua caught 107 passes for 1,749 yards and five touchdowns. However, it's not just him; football runs in the Nacua family. His father, uncle, and two older brothers all played college football.
Rams Camp- Stafford hits Puka Nacua for the TD pic.twitter.com/FescQgtoB7
— Mykell Mathieu (@MykellthePG) August 8, 2023
Puka Nacua's Potential Impact in 2023
Nacua has made a name for himself this summer. Being the 177th pick in the draft and already showing promise in his first preseason is pretty impressive. In the first preseason game, he caught three out of five passes thrown to him, gaining 32 yards and scoring a touchdown. He seems to have secured his spot as the team's fourth receiver. Of course, he also has the potential to become a starter as the season goes on.
Even though he was a fifth-round pick, Puka Nacua has already caught the eye of his head coach, Sean McVay. McVay has praised Nacua's strong work ethic and his ability to make plays both in practice and during preseason games. Nacua's size and athleticism are also turning heads. He stands at 6'2 and weighs 210 pounds.
In the 2023 season, Nacua is expected to contribute as both a wide receiver and a special teams player. His size and catching ability make him a valuable target for quarterback Matthew Stafford. That's especially true in the red zone. Nacua's knack for making tough catches and gaining extra yards after the catch could make him a potent weapon in the Rams' offense.
That said, remember that Van Jefferson is also in the spotlight this year as he's in a contract year with the Rams. He's shown flashes of being a reliable No. 2 wide receiver, especially if Kupp is unavailable. If things go well, he could become a key player for the Rams in the long run. Even alongside Jefferson, though, Nacua can still stand out.
Still, with the 2023 NFL draft behind us, the excitement around Nacua is only growing. He is a versatile wide receiver who can bring a lot to McVay's offense. Considering the Rams' current situation, there aren't many players guaranteed to start the entire 2023 season. The team is looking for someone to step up in the passing game alongside Kupp. As such, Nacua is poised to have the second-highest number of receptions. He may also have high numbers of receiving yards and receiving touchdowns among wide receivers on the team.
Moving forward, Puka Nacua is an up-and-coming rookie with the potential to make a significant impact on the Los Angeles Rams in the 2023 season. Despite being a fifth-round pick, he's already impressed head coach Sean McVay with his skills and work ethic. He has great size, athleticism, and ability to make plays. Of course, Nacua could be a valuable addition to the Rams' offense and help the team bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season. Keep an eye on this rising star – he might just shine the brightest in 2023.