Projected 40 time: 4.48
Strength: Adjusting to the football
This dude just makes it work.
Puka Nacua, at times, seemed like a get-out-of-jail-free card for Jaren Hall. Throw it up and see what happens. Having a well-rounded game can get you a seat at the table, and Nacua absolutely has one of those seats. He was used in SO MANY different ways at BYU the last two years, not just in the passing game, but he's got 39 rush attempts while at BYU to boot. After he transferred from Washington, Puka saw an immediate uptick in volume, snaps, and effectiveness.
Puka was BYU's schemed-touch guy in that offense and when they got him in space. he showed some wiggle and good field vision. Getting some blockers in front of him and he can create a big play. The lack of top-end speed hurt his all-around game, but he's a good weaver of traffic and has good eyes. Those eyes show up in every part of the field. The use of Puka in creative ways helped him to 16 touchdowns over his two seasons at BYU. Getting him the ball turned into more than just space touches. Soon, Puka was turning into a guy that Jaren Hall(also in this draft class) would turn to when he needed a play.
One thing every quarterback wants to have in the receivers he plays with on every down. Puka earned that trust from Hall with plays like this. He's got a great feel for the field and displays an understanding of how to be sudden and use it in his routes. Puka sells the deep post all the way to the top of his route, then digs his foot in the ground and cuts to the corner. In doing so, he makes the defender lose track of where he is on the field. Hall puts this right behind the defender at the boundary, and Puka comes down with it. Both feet in.
Sometimes, you have to bail out your quarterback. Puka does a great job, once again, of selling the route. Sells vertically to the corner then blows by him on the deep post move. Aided by an underthrow from Hall, the corner uses his speed to get back to the catch point of Puka and it doesn't matter. He tracks the ball well at all areas of the field. Puka's going to use the fact that the defender is screaming back to him against him. He waits until the corner makes contact, knowing he isn't looking for the ball, decelerates, and comes underneath the arms of the corner to make the contested catch. He's a smart receiver and knows how to use his strengths to his advantage.