Power ranking top 5 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates

The 2023 NFL Draft Class did not waste any time making an impact on the field. With such a stacked class, who broke out amongst the rest?

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7)
Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Puka Nacua, Los Angeles Rams
Fifth Round, 177th Overall

There is so much that is insane about Puka Nacua's first season in the NFL. He was the 20th wide receiver selected in the draft, falling to 177th overall. He had an interesting college career, starting at the University of Washington before transferring to BYU after the COVID-19-shortened season. He was used as a dual threat, catching 48 balls and rushing 39 times in his senior season. His combine numbers were average at best, and he looked like another player who might make a small impact on the league, if any impact at all.

Boy, were we wrong. Nacua wasted zero time making an impact. With Cooper Kupp missing at least the first four games of the season, Nacua was the go-to guy for Matthew Stafford from the first game of the season. He had 10 catches and 119 yards in Week 1. Then, he upped his impact. He caught 15 balls in Week 2, breaking the record of catches by a rookie. In Week 4, Nacua stepped it up one more time, catching nine balls for 163 yards. He caught his first touchdown that game, a 22-yard reception in overtime to beat the Indianapolis Colts.

Even after Kupp came back, Nacua is still the top guy in LA. Right now, he has 87 catches for 1,163 yards and four touchdowns. Only five players have more yards, and they are the very best receivers in the NFL. Nacua could finish the season with north of 1,300 yards, and that can't be ignored. Again, if Stroud is able to return this week and drive his team to the postseason, he likely wins the award, but if the season ends today, we say Nacua gets the slightest of edges.

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