With Brandon Powell officially with the Minnesota Vikings, plus the pending future of Allen Robinson still up in the air as a trade candidate, the Los Angeles Rams have members of their scouting department eyeballing potential wide receivers.
Now, per Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network on Friday, March 24, the Rams are among the teams that’s fixated on one wideout who blazed his 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds at his Pro Day: Brigham Young WR Puka Nacua.
Pauline writes how the 6-foot-2, 201-pounder impressed in front of what was described as a huge crowd at the Cougars’ field alongside his quarterback Jaren Hall.
“Receiver Puka Nacua looked terrific as the recipient of passes delivered by Hall. He was incredibly smooth, ran terrific routes, and even showed another gear,” Pauline said, who also added how Nacua was fighting off a lower body ailment to get on NFL boards.
“Nacua timed as fast as 4.49 seconds in the 40, despite a tight hip,” Pauline said. “He missed three weeks of training due to the hip condition and a concussion he suffered during the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl.”
Now, Nacua is being “courted” by three NFL teams — with the Rams in the mix. He also made the decision to refute doing a private workout and joined his BYU teammates.
“Rather than set a date in the future for a private workout, Nacua chose to participate in the pro day. He’s a natural pass catcher with a great head for the position. Nacua will come off the board somewhere in the fourth or fifth round, and he’s being courted by the Jets, Cardinals, and Rams,” Pauline said.
Meanwhile, BYU insider for KSL Sports Mitch Harper caught video of this bomb from Hall to Nacua:
Who Could Help Persuade the Addition of Nacua? One of the Newest Coaching Staff Members
Nacua just may have some leverage in getting inside the “Rams House” by April 29…through a new coaching staff member Sean McVay hired.
While Nacua ended his college football career in Provo, Utah, he began his collegiate chapter in Seattle for the University of Washington — during a time new Rams assistant head coach Jimmy Lake was there.
Lake was the defensive coordinator during Nacua’s first season, which saw the receiver play in eight games with three starts as a true freshman. He was on the field when UW scored wins over USC and his future college BYU. He ended the season with seven catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
Lake’s final season at UW ended up becoming Nacua’s last — as the latter settled for nine receptions for 151 yards and scored once in the coronavirus year of 2020.
Nacua witnessed a spike in his production the moment he returned home. He caught 43 passes for 805 yards and scored six touchdowns. He also averaged 18.7 yards per catch. He bettered his reception total the following season by snatching 48 receptions for 625 yards. But he added some rushing versatility by carrying the ball 25 times for 209 yards and scored five rushing touchdowns.
Breakdown: Nacua is Gadget Fit for Rams
Even with Mike LaFleur in as offensive coordinator, this is still a McVay offense…and is expected to use their wide receivers for more than routes. But also jet sweep runs and other designed ground attacks.
This offense is perfect for a talent like Nacua. There were plays designed for Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp in the past where they took direct handoffs and bolted up the field. BYU did the same for Nacua and the result was often six points.
But as a receiver, Nacua knows how to attack the right angles when drawing solo coverage:
Nacua may not have the releases of Kupp, but he’s more of a leverage attacker and shows strong body control even when doubled for the hit.
Nacua isn’t a true burner. He’ll additionally have to learn how to fend off press coverage as he noticeably was redirected off his routes. But he’s a crafty, fundamentally sound receiver — which works well in this offense.