Rams Breakout WR Puka Nacua Earns Comparison to NBA Star With New Nickname

Puka Nacua

Getty Puka Nacua tries to break into the end zone on September 10, 2023 in Seattle.

The Puka Nacua craze has spread around the Los Angeles Rams. Now one of his teammates has caught on with a strong comparison and stirring nickname for the 2023 breakout star.

Nacua’s 10-catch, 119-yard outing, which shattered a franchise record for yards over the Seattle Seahawks, got cornerback Derion Kendrick on Wednesday, September 13 to unveil a new comparison for the wideout: “Puka Doncic,” which is in reference to dominating NBA All-Star for the Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic.

But the second-year cornerback gave the talented first-year player another stirring nickname along with the superstar comparison.

Meaning Behind ‘Puka Doncic’ & Other Nickname Description

Kendrick made that comparison revelation on “Rams Revealed” with team reporter J.B. Long released Wednesday. He also attached another name to the standout from BYU.

“We call him the leverage killer,” Kendrick said to Long. “He comes in and like the first practice, eye discipline. This is really where it comes from, working on my eye discipline. He gets up on you and then it’s so subtle but he gets your leverage every time. He gets it every time.”

Kendrick traced back on how Nacua was getting his grabs versus a stacked Seahawks defense.

“A lot of his catches were getting up on somebody, beating that leverage and just finishing the play,” Kendrick said.

But between the two nicknames, Kendrick prefers the roundball one.

“His nickname, call him Puka Doncic, for me,” Kendrick said.

The former Georgia Bulldog then delivered one last strong prediction for Nacua.

“He’s going to surprise the league this year, for sure,” Kendrick said.

Nacua Looks Back & Looks Ahead to Next Challenge: The NFC West Champions

Nacua’s surprising performance came against one of the more talented secondaries in the league — featuring a pair of past Pro Bowl safeties Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. Plus, cornerback Tariq Woolen returned after snatching six interceptions in 2022.

Nacua told the L.A. media Wednesday that he was greeted with excitement from family after the game, whether if it was face-to-face after the game or via FaceTime call.

Although, he admits that he learned a valuable lesson from his first game performance, which had nothing to do with any of his 10 catches.

“You’ve got to keep your head on a swivel,” Nacua said in reflecting back to his NFL debut. “We had a run play where I was wrapping around on the defense and one of their defensive linemen got through…and I didn’t see him. He caught me right off guard and put me on my butt. So I’ve got to make sure I’m aware of everybody.”

But now coming up, his first home game and his first major defensive challenge: The San Francisco 49ers. Best known as the league’s top defense from a season ago and one that put together a dominating afternoon of five sacks, two takeaways and just seven points allowed in the romp over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Nacua immediately acknowledged that the 2023 49ers already look intense, big and physical. However, he’s confident in what the Rams have.

“I see all those things in our offense as well,” Nacua said.

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