II: He's an incredible steal for the LA Rams from the 2023 NFL Draft
Just how much of the annual NFL draft a crapshoot? Well, 46 rookies wide receiver prospects were viewed to be more NFL ready than Brigham Young's Puka Nacua. Despite all of the data analytics available to all 32 NFL teams before and during the draft process, 19 collegiate rookie prospect wide receivers were chosen in the 2023 NFL Draft before Nacua heard his name called out with the 177th overall pick in the draft.
Four wide receivers were chosen in Round 1. Another 4 wide receivers were selected in Round 2. By the end of Day 2 in the 2023 NFL Draft, 14 rookie wide receivers had heard their names called out in the draft. Puka Nacua was not among that group.
And yet, he is the top rookie wide receiver in 2023, hands down.
There is a common misconception among NFL fans that there is perfect data available for NFL general managers to use in the draft selection process, and that perfect decisions are made from that perfect data. And yet, the LA Rams continue to prove otherwise.
The best part of this is how the Rams save themselves plenty of salary cap dollars in the process. Let's compare some salary cap numbers.
The Seattle Seahawks drafted WR Jason Smith-Njigba (602 yards, 3 TDs) with the 20th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Baltimore Ravens quickly followed suit by drafting WR Zay Flowers (752 yards, 4 TDs)with the 22nd overall pick in the draft. Now let's break down their salary cap hits:
The LA Rams are getting nearly as much production out of Puka Nacua as the combined production of Seattle Seahawks Jaxson Smith-Njigba and Baltimore Ravens Zay Flowiers. But the Rams are paying Nacua 1/7th as much as the other two rookies combined salary.