The 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl is underway from Mobile, Alabama, with the first day of practices taking the field at Hancock Whitney Stadium on the University of South Alabama’s campus. As the first practice came to a close, BYU WR Puka Nacua really stood out.
BYU WR Puka Nacua Dominates Among Skill Players at Senior Bowl
The day of practice kicked off the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl as the National Team took the field first. Nacua, one of three BYU players in action, quite easily stole the show.
Joined by his quarterback Jaren Hall and offensive tackle Blake Freeland, Nacua was the early standout during each drill presented. Whether it was one-on-one battles or team-specific outings, the 6’1″ speedster made his name known.
Nacua looked effortless and smooth in his routes during one-on-one drills, arguably the most important for wide receivers and defensive backs in the early going. On his first rep, Nacua flexed his route-running muscles with a quick drag route over the middle that saw him lose his defender with at least five yards of separation.
The next rep in one-on-one drills, Nacua showed more of the same, flipping his defender inside out on another in-breaking route. He finished his dominant three reps in one-on-ones with a deep route thrown well beyond his back shoulder. Nacua broke off his route at the last second, using his body control to adjust and nearly bring in what would have been the best catch of the day.
Still, his efforts in one-on-ones caught the eye of all those in attendance. Pro Football Network’s Adam Beasley simply stated, “Nacua was everywhere.” Going even further, the broadcast team on NFL+ consistently remarked how fast, twitchy, and athletic Nacua was in one-on-one drills.
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Once team drills started, Nacua flashed even more of his terrific route-running skills. His most notable rep saw him sell a vertical route against the defensive back before planting his foot in the ground and presenting his numbers to his QB, creating natural separation at the catch point.
But he wasn’t finished there. Nacua followed up a terrific first-down reception with another dominant route, selling an inside release against off-coverage before stemming his route to the boundary, where a late throw was the only thing that caused an incompletion.
Overall, Nacua’s play in all facets was as impressive as you’d expect from a player who flashed brilliance every time he touched the ball at BYU. There is a reason that the Provo native hauled in 14 career touchdown receptions and even ran for another five scores for the Cougars this year.
As stated in our countdown to the Senior Bowl, the most important factor for Nacua was to prove he is healthy and showcase his terrific athleticism. In doing so, Nacua should rise up draft boards with a strong showing in Mobile.
After Day 1, Nacua isn’t only rising up draft boards — he’s catapulted his draft stock through the roof.