It’s still a long way to go before NFL games are played. However, players are on the field and that’s been the case for the Los Angeles Rams as they’ve begun Organized Team Activities (OTAs). This is an important step in the onboarding process for the rookies, and let’s be honest, the Rams have a lot of them. It’s going to be crucial for the Rams coaches to get the rookies up to speed and assist them when it comes to grasping the playbook and translating that to the field.
One rookie who has been standing out thus far is fifth-round wide receiver, Puka Nacua out of BYU. According to The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue,
“Rookie fifth-round receiver Puka Nacua seems determined to take on a large mental workload right away as installation unfolds...At one point Tuesday, McVay even pulled Nacua aside and worked with him individually on his release off the line of scrimmage.”
It all starts now.— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) May 18, 2023
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Nacua also got some praise from quarterback Matthew Stafford. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Stafford said,
“Puka has done a nice job. He’s gotten some reps really in all three groups. Every time I look up, he’s running around somewhere. So, he’s done a nice job, made some catches for us.”
It seems like lofty expectations to assume a fifth-round rookie to come in and make an immediate impact. However, if that is going to happen, Nacua will need to build a positive rapport with Stafford. At this point in the offseason, players, especially veterans like Stafford are all going to say the right things. Still, some praise of Nacua shouldn’t go unnoticed.
That’s especially the case when that praise is reciprocated by another player on offense and comes unprompted. Van Jefferson had some positive things to say about Nacua when speaking to Rodrigue. Jefferson was asked for a player to keep an eye on throughout OTAs and mentioned the BYU rookie. Here’s what Jefferson had to say,
“He has come in and taken ownership of the playbook, and tried to learn the best he can. You can just see how it (translates) on the field. He’s been having a great two days that he’s been out here.”
Again, take everything you hear this time of year with a grain of salt. The only negative reports on players that you’re going to get during OTAs is if a player doesn’t show up. With that being said, good news is better than no news. It sounds like Nacua is fitting right into the offense. At the very least, it’s a positive start to Nacua’s offseason and hopefully that translates to a good rookie season.