L.A. Rams general manager scored a touchdown with his 2023 draft class. To illustrate how strong of a class Snead brought to Hollywood, Puka Nacua jumped from the fifth round to the top five in an ESPN re-drafting of the first two rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.
With Anthony Richardson already off the board in this exercise, the Colts forgo a franchise passer for the opportunity to snag Nacua at No. 4 overall.
“The Colts’ quarterback need would have remained glaring had the picks played out this way, but Indianapolis was never nearly as high on Will Levis as some believed. Bryce Young is worth considering, but Nacua is more of a sure thing. He would give the Colts an elite skill player to pair with their eventual franchise quarterback — whenever they finally land one. Nacua broke the NFL’s single-season rookie record for receiving yards (1,486) and receptions (105),” per ESPN’s Stephen Holder in the February 6 article
Puka set rookie marks in receiving yards and receptions while being named a Second-team All-Pro and was voted to the Pro Bowl. The BYU product is also a finalist for Offensive Rookie of the Year but will likely lose out to C.J. Stroud. It’s a quarterback’s award after all, yet that shouldn’t take away from his historic campaign. Personally, Nacua should win the award for doing this at the Pro Bowl:
What a legend! It’s important to start that hatred of the 49ers early. Now Puka wasn’t alone in the first round in this exercise as Kobie Turner was taken with the 20th overall pick ... by the Seahawks. In this re-draft, promising wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba was passed over in favor of Turner.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson explained his reasoning for the selection:
“Passing on Smith-Njigba is hard, but Seattle’s run defense was awful — even after trading for defensive end Leonard Williams in October. In this scenario, Seattle would beef up its D-line with Turner, who led all rookies in sacks (nine) and run stop win rate (38%, 20th among all linemen). And it likely would have prevented the Seahawks from having to give up a second-round pick for Williams at midseason.”
Turner is a finalist for Defensive Rookie of the Year and like Puka, should be a lock for the award.
Kobie Turner had an excellent rookie season pic.twitter.com/ZBrg0HRufV— PFF LA Rams (@PFF_Rams) February 6, 2024
Regardless of whether Nacua or Turner win their respective awards, both players should be a force for years to come. The Rams making the playoffs this season seems to only be the beginning for the team thanks to its strong rookie class.
LA has established a remarkably steady foundation that have them poised for a potential run at next year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.