Rams News: Bears’ Rome Odunze Chasing After Puka Nacua’s Rookie Receiving Record
Rome Odunze
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams won’t be able to take team by surprise in the 2024 season after they made the playoffs and nearly upset the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round.

Los Angeles was supposed to be in Year 1 of a rebuild, but instead found themselves propped up by their impressive 2023 NFL Draft class. Puka Nacua headlined the group as he went from relative unknown to superstar overnight, taking the reins of the offense and establishing himself as one of the best young wideouts in the NFL.

With Cooper Kupp missing the first four games of the 2023 season, Nacua stepped up and quickly earned Matthew Stafford’s trust in the passing game. Nacua had a deep understanding of head coach Sean McVay’s offense and used his opportunity to break several rookie receiving records.

The 2024 NFL Draft class was loaded at the wide receiver position and the Chicago Bears landed one of the top players in the position group in Rome Odunze.

Odunze briefly played with Nacua at the University of Washington and said he will be chasing after his former teammate’s rookie receiving yards record this year, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

“I think that’s important for every player to set those goals and strive for the highest of the highs,” Odunze said on Wednesday . “It’s unique in my situation because I went to school with Puka Nacua, so I was following him and got to see what he did, so, absolutely, I’m chasing that. I think he’s right around 1,500, right? For that rookie season record. Absolutely chasing that.”

Nacua finished with a rookie record 1,486 yards but also broke the rookie reception record previously held by the Miami Dolphins’ Jaylen Waddle with 105 catches. Odunze is every bit as talented as Nacua, though he could have a hard time earning that many targets to break the record as he’ll be lining up alongside DJ Moore and Keenan Allen.

However, the Bears also drafted Caleb William, who is the most gifted quarterback in his class and there’s a world where he and Odunze hit the ground running as passing game partners. It’ll be interesting to see if Odunze can break the record, but Nacua’s feat is likely safe for the time being.

Rams’ Puka Nacua not feeling pressure to live up to rookie season

After blowing expectations out of the water, there is a lot riding on Puka Nacua’s sophomore year in the league. However, Nacua is staying focused on the upcoming season and doesn’t feel any pressure to live up to his rookie year with the Rams.