When Was Puka Nacua Drafted? Revisiting the Late-Round WR Steal

    Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua’s NFL rookie season has provided the team with a much-needed boost as they try to fill the void left by Cooper Kupp’s injury. Nacua has 25 receptions for 266 yards in his first two games, setting a record for most catches by a rookie through two games.

    Rams head coach Sean McVay told ESPN, “The game makes sense to him. Physically and mentally tough. Works really hard. He’s very inquisitive.”

    When Was Puka Nacua Drafted?

    The Rams selected Nacua in the fifth round with the 177th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He was the 20th wide receiver taken in the draft and the third selected in the fifth round.

    After selecting three wide receivers in 2021, the Rams did not draft one last year. Tutu Atwell and Ben Skowronek are in their third seasons with the team.

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    Nacua played in only one preseason game this year. He caught three passes for 32 yards and one touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers.

    Where Did Nacua Play College Football?

    Nacua started his college career with the Washington Huskies in 2019 and 2020. He had 16 receptions and three touchdowns in 11 games with the Huskies.

    He then transferred to the BYU Cougars and played two seasons with them. In 21 games, he had 91 touchdowns for 1,430 yards, with 11 receiving and five rushing touchdowns.

    BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick told ESPN, “I thought that he would be a great pro, and I thought that everybody that passed on him would regret it.”

    Did the Rams Know What They Had With Nacua?

    In June, Kupp said, “He’s pretty special. He is going to be a very good football player in this league.” That is high praise from one of the game’s best receivers for a rookie.

    McVay said at the end of training camp that Nacua could be one of the team’s players who could contribute early in the season.

    Nacua is the fifth player in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to have at least 10 catches and 100 receiving yards in his first two games of a season. Kupp, Andre Rison, Miles Austin, and Isaac Bruce were the other four players. Nacua, however, became the first rookie to accomplish the feat.

    Regarding his start, Nacua said, “I’m not really aware of what’s going on, but my success will come when the team wins, so I’m excited for us to be able to come back and capitalize when we are able to win.

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