Does anyone know just how well LA Rams WR Puka Nacua will perform in 2024?

Los Angeles Rams OTA Offseason Workout, Puka Nacua
Los Angeles Rams OTA Offseason Workout, Puka Nacua / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

When the LA Rams selected former BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua with the 177th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the team was hopeful that they had added a dependable wide receiver who could help manage the workload of the team's passing offense. What the Rams roster got was the All-Time NFL Rookie Receiver Record holder. So the question is, what will he do for an encore?

It would be simple if we could equate Nacua's shockingly effective performance to a chemistry that clicked with veteran QB Matthew Stafford. But the truth of the matter is that Stafford was not the first quarterback to unlock Nacua's potential for the coaching staff. That honor belongs to backup quarterback Stetson Bennett, who showcased Nacua in the first preseason game in 2023 against the Los Angeles Chargers. In that game, Puka Nacua hauled in three of five passes for 32 yards, and the only receiving touchdown for the Rams in the game.

It would be the only passing touchdown thrown by Bennett throughout the 2023 preseason.

Nacua would go on to put up 105 receptions (out of 160 targets) for 1,486 yards and six touchdowns, not only good enough to set the rookie receiver mark for the NFL but good enough to be the fourth-best receiver totals in receiving yards in the entire NFL. And yes, revisiting his catches provides enough visual evidence to suggest that he has plenty more where that came from:

But that really doesn't help establish where Nacua will come in for 2024. After all, three factors determine how well a receiver will perform in any offense. The first is the most obvious but least mentioned, and that is the number of targets. With the Rams throwing 160 times at Nacua, I do not envision his attracting more targets in 2024, at least not as long as the team maintains a healthy group of receivers.

The second area that plays a factor in Nacua's performance in 2024 is catch rate. The young man certainly had the ability to make difficult catches as a rookie. But his 65.6 percent completion rate does have some room for modest improvement. If Nacua could raise his catch rate to 70 percent in 2024, then the same number of targets would mean 112 receptions, and a total of 1,571 yards.

The third and final area that impacts the number of yards a receiver puts up in any given season is the yards per reception. Curiously, Nacua's rookie mark of 14.2 yards per catch is a solid number among NFL wide receivers. Can he improve on that mark? Of course. And yet, many veteran receivers average less.

So with a bit of reflection, can Puka Nacua pop his numbers in 2024? He simply needs to improve on his catch rate, and the numbers will follow. Historically, most receivers improve their catch rate in their second season. Nacau is certainly one of the hardest-working wide receivers to enter the NFL in some time.

And he already has the NFL Network's attention:

2024 will be a banner season for the Rams receiver. Does anyone know just how well LA Rams WR Puka Nacua will perform in 2024? We have a strong idea, but we aren't sharing just yet.

Thanks for reading.