NFL Draft Guru Unveils 2024’s Puka Nacua (Will The Los Angeles Rams Be In Position To Draft Him?)

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No one saw Puka Nacua coming, not even the Los Angeles Rams anticipated the meteoric rise as a record-setting rookie wide receiver. Had they, they certainly wouldn’t have picked seven players ahead of him.

But the lesson we all learned (or relearned) is that valuable football players can be found in any draft round and that many prospects are overlooked and mis-scouted.

Can Javon Baker Be 2024’s Puka Nacua?

Next Puka Nacua?

Draft Expert Daniel Jeremiah believes he has zeroed in on a player who is being undervalued in the run-up to the NFL Draft.

“I look at a guy like Javon Baker from UCF. You know, the former Alabama transfer who’s a vertical stretch wide receiver averaging over 20 yards a catch. He’s a home run hitter. He’s someone that can impact the game even when he’s not catching the football because his speed, the way he plays the game. His play speed is going to steer safeties out of the box and help your run game. So I feel like if you know exactly how to use him, he can be an impact player.”

Javon Baker led college football in yards per reception last season among high-target receivers. Looking at his rather average 40-yard time (4.54), he doesn’t seem like the traditional field stretcher. But a look beyond the surface reveals a faster play speed than expected. Which Jeremiah referred to. Zebra Technologies tracked his top speed at 20.99 miles per hour during the Senior Bowl, which was fifth fastest overall and second-best among wide receivers over that weekend. Not only that but he was ninth among WRs with 105 explosive efforts, which tracks “high” accelerations and “high” decelerations a player achieves in a practice/game.

A player who posted similar numbers at the Senior Bowl was eventual Rams draft pick, Van Jefferson.

Jeremiah did stipulate that Baker’s impact would be dependent on whether a coach knows ‘exactly how to use him.’ It is one thing Jeremiah pointed out about Nacua’s success.

Los Angeles Rams Draft: Top 5 Wide Receiver Targets

Sean McVay knew exactly what he was going to do, how he was going to use them and how he was going to fit.”

Should the Los Angeles Rams Draft Baker?

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Oklahoma
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With Van Jefferson traded away and Tutu Atwell on the last year of his rookie contract, there will be a need for top-end speed on the Rams roster. How Baker should be used is on display over his career, once his average depth of target jumped from 13 to 17 yards his production exploded. Adding elite speed to the Rams offense would mean they have explosive threats on all three levels.

With Atwell and Demarcus Robinson on the roster, he won’t see much playing time off the bat unless he is truly the next Puka Nacua.

Baker is given a fourth-round grade. The Rams don’t currently have a pick in that round, but they could go after him early and snag him with the 99th overall pick in the 3rd Round.

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