LOCALS IN THE NFL

Puka Nacua Receives Praise From Rams WR Cooper Kupp, Coach Sean McVay

Jun 7, 2023, 11:57 AM | Updated: 12:09 pm

Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams, NFL, BYU...

Former BYU WR Puka Nacua has made an impression on Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp and coach Sean McVay. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY РFormer BYU and Orem High wide receiver Puka Nacua is already turning heads within the Los Angeles Rams organization.

One of those people that has been impressed with the rookie pass-catcher is NFL star and 2021 MVP Cooper Kupp.

Cooper Kupp impressed with Rams rookie Puka Nacua

Kupp addressed Rams reporters during week three of OTAs and was asked about his early impressions of the former BYU star.

“Yeah, man, he’s pretty special,” Kupp said. “I think if he can stay on a good trajectory, he’s going to be a very good football player in this league. I love the way that he attacks each day. He’s got a great feel for the game, a great feel for leverage, running routes. You come in; you’re running new concepts and things like that. Things that you’ve done before to get open might not fit within the realm of the things that we want to do here, but he’s just transitioned so quickly over understanding what the parameters are that he’s able to work in.”

Nacua was selected in the fifth round at pick No. 177 in this year’s NFL draft. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound receiver was a star at BYU, known for his precise route running and playmaking ability.

Kupp continued, “He’s got a great feel for attacking leverage, how to stick things, his timing on when he needs to show up for things and he’s asking the right questions too. I think that’s the big thing. He’s asking the right questions and as he gets more reps over and over, as he gets to see these things, he’s just going to get better and better. So, I’m really excited about him and the steps that he’s going to be able to take over these next few months.”

During Nacua’s two-year career at BYU, he combined for 1,787 all-purpose yards and had 16 touchdowns in 21 games played.

Sean McVay weighed in on the former BYU star

Rams head coach Sean McVay, who enters his seventh season leading L.A., has also seen some impressive traits in Nacua.

“It’s been really impressive how quickly he’s gotten up to speed. … Matthew (Stafford) has done a great job of really just kind of taking him under his wing and being able to kind of just help give those little nuances, having Cooper (Kupp) back. So he’s smart, he’s conscientious.”

Regarding comparisons for Nacua, McVay, who led the Rams to a Super Bowl Championship in 2021, isn’t making bold predictions.

“It’s hard to really compare to anybody because a lot of those guys, whether you talk about Robert (Woods’) first year, Cooper’s rookie year, having Sammy (Watkins) but then ended up having Brandin Cooks, there’s been a standard set in that room where there’s been really conscientious players. Even if you go with Josh Reynolds, how quickly Van (Jefferson) has done a great job of grasping the offense. And so [Nacua] ‘s a guy that we’re expecting him to come in, expecting him to be able to contribute and compete. Every spot is going to be earned on this team, but I really like what he’s done and I think it’s a credit to everybody around him and his conscientiousness.”

Nacua and the Rams conclude OTAs on June 8.

Next week the Rams will hold a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12‚Äď3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Puka Nacua Receives Praise From Rams WR Cooper Kupp, Coach Sean McVay