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Puka Nacua and Kobie Turner reflect on NFL Honors experience, postseason recognition from rookie seasons

LAS VEGAS – Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua and nose tackle Kobie Turner's rookie journeys started as later-round selections in the 2023 NFL Draft, and after outstanding first seasons, brought them to the red carpet for this year's NFL Honors as finalists for Rookie of the Year Awards on their respective side of the ball.

"It's insane," Turner told on the red carpet prior to the awards show. "You know, I definitely wouldn't have had this on my to-do list, on my check-off list, but I'm just blessed to be here and I'm definitely happy with the season that I had, and just looking forward to keeping it going."

"It's been one heck of a year," Nacua told on the red carpet prior to the awards show. "I'm blessed to be here."

Both were joined by special people in their lives for Thursday night's ceremony. Nacua was joined by his girlfiend, Hallie, and his mother, Penina, while Turner was joined by his fiancee Alissa.

Both also had unique touches to their outfits for Thursday night. Nacua wore a lei decorated with Rams-colored flowers by his mother as well as a gold necklace with his jersey number on it, while Turner had a musical clef lapel on his suit jacket and musical notes printed on the inside of his suit jacket.

A finalist for the Associated Press 2023 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award, Nacua finished second in voting for the award behind Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud. Nacua set new NFL rookie records for receptions (105) and receiving yards (1,486) during the regular season, while also catching six touchdown. He also set a new NFL rookie record for most receiving yards in a playoff game with 181 on nine receptions – plus one touchdown – In the Rams' wild-card playoff game against the Lions.

"I think back on the support I got from (everyone) in the facility, and I think of my family and my friends and my support group and all the people who made this year possible and how it's been so fun," Nacua said. "I set the standard high, and I'm ready to break that standard as well."

A finalist for the AP 2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award, Turner finished third in voting for the award behind Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter (second) and Texans defensive end Will Anderson Jr. (first). Turner tied defensive tackle Aaron Donald's franchise rookie record for sacks with nine – a total which led all rookies – and he also registered 57 total tackles (eight for loss), 16 QB hits and two passes defensed.

"I think it's a great start, and that's all it is," Turner said. "That's done, and now it's about what I do next. So now it's about preparing myself to be at my best next season and the season after that. I'll sit back and enjoy it a little bit. It definitely means a lot to have this level of success at the start, but that's just the beginning. And now there's expectations, or maybe not so many expectations, however it comes, but regardless, it's about staying in that present moment, staying focused, and that's what I'm going to focus on again next year."

Identified as immediate contributors before the 2023 regular season began, both players played in all 17 regular season games plus the Rams' wild card playoff game. Nacua started in all 17 games. Turner started in four of them but became a critical part of Los Angeles' defensive line rotation.

Look through the best photos from NFL Honors night as wide receiver Puka Nacua and nose tackle Kobie Turner represented the Los Angeles Rams as finalists for the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards.

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