Maxx Crosby Hosts Puka Nacua on "The Rush"

April 08, 2024

Athlete Studio

In the NFL Draft, the third day often serves as a hunt for quality depth to bolster team rosters. Yet, it's a rare occasion when these rounds yield star players who evolve into foundational pieces.

This was precisely the case for the Las Vegas Raiders when they chose defensive end Maxx Crosby out of Eastern Michigan in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Similarly, the Los Angeles Rams struck gold when they selected wide receiver Puka Nacua out of BYU in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Crosby burst onto the scene with a stunning debut, notching 10 sacks in his rookie season. Since then, he's emerged as one of the premier defensive players in the NFL. On the other hand, Nacua made an immediate impact, tallying nearly 1,500 receiving yards and six touchdowns, ultimately landing as a finalist for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

In a recent episode of Crosby's podcast, "The Rush with Maxx Crosby," Nacua delved into his draft experience and the journey of earning his spot on the team.

“Coming in, I just remember being drafted, my agent was like, ‘Yeah, they have [Cooper Kupp] and Van Jefferson, but that third receiver is up for grabs,’” Nacua recounted. “I was just like, ‘I’m just glad someone took me.’ Going in the fifth round – my brothers both played in the league undrafted. My brother bounced around teams for like six years. So, I’d seen the business side and the journey of how important and lucky you are to be drafted, kind of what that means, especially if you can go in the earlier rounds.

“Getting drafted was like, ‘Oh, man, I’m so excited.' But then, the third position was open, and that’s where I was like, ‘Man, I’m just going to go one day at a time.’ That’s my motto. I have to show up every single day and prove to them that I belong here."

Reflecting on his draft experience, Nacua acknowledged that the Rams passed on him a few times before finally selecting him in the fifth round. He shares a similar underdog mindset with Crosby, and if he can channel it as effectively as Crosby does each year, Nacua poses a significant threat to defenses for years to come.

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