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Puka Nacua 2023 NFL Draft Profile

Puka Nacua
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Puka Nacua 2023 NFL Draft Profile

There are guys in the back end of the 2023 NFL Draft class who just feel like they will make it. The tools they have will keep them in rosters. For me, one of those guys is BYU’s Puka Nacua. There’s something about his game that itches my brain in a good way. What does his draft profile look like? Let’s talk about it. 

Nacua was a four-star recruit in the 2019 class, originally committing to Washington. He played in eight games for the Huskies as a true freshman, catching seven passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. In 2020, he only played in three games, then made the move to BYU in that offseason. He exploded in 2021, catching 44 catches for 805 yards and six touchdowns. He plateaued in 2022, catching 48 passes for 625 yards and five scores. Over his four-year career, he averaged a 112.2 passer rating for his quarterback when targeted. 

He was a standout on his only day of practices at the Senior Bowl this year. He participated on the first day but that’s it. He has a solid showing at the combine, per Trey’s notes, with an excellent gauntlet showing. Click here for his full receiver notes. 

All the tools are there for Nacua. His route running is very sharp with a nice route tree. He can stack up defensive backs and then break at the last second to create great separation. Nacua highpoints the ball very well. BYU ran a lot of jet sweeps for him, and he constantly crushed defenses. Very strong runner who will run through a defender. Love that. More than willing to go over the middle and give his body up to make the catch. 

To that last point, at times he gets a little too comfy over the middle, not really looking to create separation there. He’s another guy I want to see use his hands more instead of his body. Press corners might give him some fits. His release off the line could use a little something. He’s just not very twitchy so he is prone to getting jammed at the line. 

I like Puka Nacua quite a lot. I came away from his day at the Senior Bowl impressed. His combine performance as well put some eyes on him. Is he a day-two pick? No. Still, he could easily find his way into the fifth- or sixth-round and be a developmental guy. How much development you want to put into a 22-year-old (who will be 23 when the season begins) is up to you. I think he’s worth a shot.

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