Aaron Donald: Puka Nacua has potential to ‘do some things that have never been done’

Puka Nacua may not have won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2023, but there’s no question he had one of the best seasons ever by a rookie receiver. He set rookie records with 105 catches and 1,486 yards, also scoring six touchdowns in his first season – including the game-winner in overtime against the Colts.

It’s even more impressive considering he was a fifth-round pick, so no one expected him to have the type of season he had right away.

Aaron Donald, for one, was impressed by Nacua in training camp, but he wanted to see him carry that over into the games. Obviously, he did just that, getting better as the season went on and nearly helping the Rams upset the Lions in the wild-card round.

Donald was blown away by Nacua’s rookie season and says it’s one of the best rookie years by any player that he’s ever witnessed.

“He’s a football player, that type of player you want on your team. A tough guy that plays hard, plays tough,” Donald said on the “Green Light Podcast” with Chris Long. “From the first game, he was just consistent. Then the Colts game, we ended up going into overtime, he ended up making the game-winning touchdown for us. He’s just been a consistent player since Day 1 and then he just got better and better and better. It’s like, god, I didn’t expect him to be the player he was this year but in my opinion, to be honest with you, for any position, me personally watching, that’s probably one of the best rookie performances from any position that I got the opportunity to watch.”

As good as Nacua was in his first season, he still has room to grow. That’s terrifying for opposing defenses and exciting for the Rams, knowing he could be even better in 2024.

Having seen the work Nacua puts in, Donald believes he can accomplish some things in the NFL that have never been done before.

“You see young guys that play and they fall off a little bit, but for him to stay as poised as he did for the whole season as far as, like, he became a household name as a rookie and he didn’t change,” Donald continued. “He stayed the same person, he kept doing the same things every single week and it’s like, if he stays like that and he stays hungry and if he wants to be great, in my opinion, I think he can do some things that have never been done in this league. But he’s just got to keep working, but he was fun to watch. I really enjoyed watching him, all the awards he was able to surpass, records he was able to break as a rookie.”

Donald knows greatness when he sees it and he believes Nacua can be one of the best to do it if he stays on the path he’s currently on.

Story originally appeared on Rams Wire