What I love about this signing
Let's open up this segment by turning to a standard litmus test for rookies who join the Rams roster: The Reese Senior Bowl. If a player can show up in a big way on that stage, they have one foot in the door in terms of their debut in the NFL.
And yes, BYU WR Puka Nacua showed up in a huge way at the Senior Bowl:
But that was just the beginning. Early reports emerged from the Rams OTAs that Puka Nacua was turning some heads. For that reason alone, we were persuaded to include rookie receiver Nacua among our 5 Rams locked and loaded for a breakout season this year.
But we are not the only ones to notice his potential in the LA Rams offense. Sports Illustrated writer Gilberto Manzano had plenty of praises to hep on rookie Puka Nacua.
In fact, he went so far as to say:
"The rookie who caught my eye: The Rams might have one of the biggest steals of the 2023 draft with fifth-round pick Puka Nacua.- S.I writer Gilberto Manzano
Sure, that might be premature, but the 6'2" Nacua has already received plenty of snaps with the first-team offense, and that was before Kupp got injured. He’s a strong candidate to be the third starting wideout, and it was easy to see why with the handful of plays he made Sunday with Stafford throwing in his direction."
That's pretty powerful praise.
if there is a surprise at all in how he will be used, it's the fact that Puka Nacua has been listed on the LA Rams initial depth chart as the team's starting punt returner. The reason that is a surprise is the fact that he had no special team experience at college whatsoever. Will he be able to handle that pressure of fielding punts as well as contributing on offense this year? Let's hope so. If he plays well, the Rams will certainly have a stronger chance of winning.
If he struggles, will the Rams current roster be able to compensate?
What are his chances of making the roster?
He is nearly a lock at making the Rams 53-man roster. Even without the starting punt returner duties, he is the sixth receiver on the Rams depth chart, and the team will likely carry six receivers on the roster. Of course. things can change before the start of opening day. But filling the role of punt returner as well as wide receiver practically ensures that he will be survive the roster cuts as the team pares down to the 53-man limit.