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Does Rams receiver Puka Nacua have an All-Pro case?

The fifth-rounder is closing in on a pair of rookie receiving records, is an All-Pro nod next?

New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Wide receiver Puka Nacua has been a marvel for the Los Angeles Rams all throughout his rookie campaign. The first-year star was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts in the win over the New Orleans Saints. Nacua has easily been the top rookie wideout this season as no one appears close to catching him with two games left.

While beating out C.J. Stroud for the OROY award is uncertain at this point, could Puka earn All-Pro honors instead? There is a legitimate argument to be made for the BYU product. His case will strengthen even further if he breaks the rookie marks in receptions and receiving yardage in the next two weeks.

Entering Week 17, Nacua is fourth in receiving yards behind Tyreek Hill, CeeDee Lamb and A.J. Brown. He is eighth in the league with 96 receptions, tied with Stefon Diggs. The rook is also tied with Hill, Davante Adams and Amon-Ra St. Brown for fifth in receiving targets with 146. Not the mention Puka is also fifth across the NFL in total yards from scrimmage.

Since the 2012 season, nine receivers have been named to the All-Pro team. The list includes Cordarrelle Patterson (2013), Tyler Lockett (2015), Tyreek Hill (2016), Jamal Agnew (2017), Deonte Harris, Diontae Johnson and Mecole Hardman (2019), Justin Jefferson (2020) and Ja’Marr Chase (2021).

However, only Jefferson and Chase were named to the Second-team All-Pro squad as receivers, the other seven were slotted as return specialists. Puka’s first-year contributions is on pace to surpass much of the production made by the former LSU Tigers in their respective rookie campaigns.

Nacua (Projected): 109 receptions on 165 targets, 1,504 yards, six touchdowns, 88.5 receiving yards per game

Jefferson (2020): 88 receptions on 125 targets, 1,400 yards, seven touchdowns, 87.5 receiving yards per game

Chase (2021): 81 receptions on 128 targets, 1,455 yards, 13 touchdowns, 85.6 receiving yards per game

Nacua has easily topped both in receptions and targets. When taking a deeper dive into the numbers, the Rams wideout has again paced his elite counterparts. Not bad for a fifth-rounder, am I right?

Jefferson: seven 100-yard games, eight games with at least five receptions, seven games with double-digit targets

Chase: five 100-yard games including two 200 yarders(!), 12 games with at least five receptions, five games with double-digit targets

Nacua (through 15 games): six 100-yard games, nine games with at least five receptions, six games with double-digit targets

With Nacua in the top-5 in receiving yards, that already bodes well for an All-Pro nod. Both Jefferson and Chase finished fourth in yardage during their rookie years. Ja’Marr won OROY with ease while JJ placed second after Justin Herbert became the first rookie quarterback to throw 30 touchdown passes. Puka’s chances of landing OROY and All-Pro honors likely went up following the Saints game.

Assuming Puka Nacua finishes the 2023 regular season strong, he should earn at least Second-team All-Pro honors when it’s all said and done. Again, not bad for a fifth-rounder who has set the NFL world ablaze this season.