Puka Nacua has been the gold commonplace of the NFL season by way of two weeks. Calling his numbers a shock isn’t a slight on his expertise popping out of BYU; that’s an expression of awe. In line with ESPN, he’s the primary participant in NFL historical past to document 10 or extra receptions and 100 or extra receiving yards in each of his first two video games, and his 15-reception recreation on Sunday is a rookie document.
He wasn’t picked till the fifth spherical of the NFL draft, 177th general, but by way of two weeks he’s main your entire league in receptions (25) and is second to Justin Jefferson in receiving yards (266).
NFL.com had his prospect grade at 5.80, projected as an “common backup or particular teamer.” (Learn the report right here). The place did scouts and analysts go improper?
At BYU, Nacua was stable, recording 1,430 receiving yards and 91 receptions between his closing two seasons of play. He confirmed versatility in his fourth and closing season, scoring 5 dashing and 5 receiving touchdowns in 9 video games. There have been indicators, however these numbers don’t level to a breakout rookie.
To see the place he broke out as an NFL prospect, one should return to highschool, particularly his senior 12 months, the place Nacua established himself as a prime receiver by the numbers however didn’t get fairly the analyst rating he most likely deserved.
In 2018-19, Nacua was certainly one of 5 candidates for the All-USA Offensive Participant of the 12 months award by USA TODAY Excessive College Sports activities when he recorded 103 receptions for two,336 yards and 26 touchdowns for Orem Excessive College (Utah). That yardage and landing determine was Utah’s single-season document; Nacua additionally set the Utah profession information for receptions (260), yards (5,226) and landing receptions (58), in accordance with Gatorade, for which he was the state’s participant of the 12 months in 2018-19. Orem gained the championship annually from 2017-20, and two of them got here with Nacua serving to cleared the path.
He did it in opposition to nationwide competitors, too, being named the 2018 Polynesian Bowl Participant of the 12 months with six receptions, 93 yards and a landing.
TOUCHDOWN or No TD for #USC WR commit Puka Nacua (@AsapPuka)⁉️ @polynesiabowl #FightOn✌️ pic.twitter.com/C4eylmEVlK
— Scott Schrader (@Scott_Schrader) January 20, 2019
Regardless of these numbers, Nacua couldn’t fairly attain the five-star prospect tier, ending at four-stars. The 247Sports Composite listed Nacua because the No. 136 participant within the class of 2019 and the No. 22 receiver general. 247Sports itself was greater, rating him as a top-50 participant within the class and a top-10 receiver.
It wasn’t simply media and recruiting analysts who weren’t all the way in which there with the 6-foot-2, 190-pound receiver. Nacua had simply 12 school provides, in accordance with 247Sports, and he first dedicated to USC earlier than flipping to Washington and enjoying for the Huskies for 2 years earlier than transferring to BYU in 2021.
What did we (that means media) they usually (that means crew scouts) miss? It’s not precisely clear. Nacua’s tempo is most certainly unsustainable — until you assume he can catch 212 passes — however we most likely ought to have been a little bit extra ready to look at him excel early within the NFL.
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