Did the Falcons find their Puka Nacua in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Casey Washington has a lot of similarities to last year's breakout rookie Puka Nacua coming out of college.
Illinois v Iowa
Illinois v Iowa / Matthew Holst/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Zac Robinson, Raheem Morris, and a whole host of other people saw a fifth-round steal by Les Snead and the Los Angeles Rams last year. BYU receiver Puka Nacua, from the moment he stepped on the NFL field, caught pass after pass. If not for C.J. Stroud, he would have easily been the 'Offensive Rookie of the Year.'

Part of his success was thanks to passing-game coordinator Zac Robinson who has since become the Raheem Morris' offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons.

Unsurprisingly, the Falcons took a shot in the late rounds on an intriguing wide receiver who has some similarities to Puka Nacua.

The Falcons are hoping they found their version of Puka Nacua in Casey Washington

It isn't fair to compare Puke Nacua to anyone and it isn't fair to put massive expectations on Casey Washington going into his first season. But, with that being said, you cannot ignore the similarities between the two overlooked prospects.

Both have similar heights at just over six-foot while Nacua is about ten pounds heavier.

Nacua didn't participate in any combine drills while Washington wasn't invited. However, here are their reported Pro Day numbers

Casey Washington

Puka Nacua

Forty-yard dash:

4.48s

4.57s

Shuttle:

4.43s

4.36s

3-cone:

7.39s

7.32s

Vertical:

33"

39.5"

Broad:

127"

121"

Bench:

13 reps

15 reps

As you can see, Washington, according to his measurements has more deep speed and explosion while Nacua has more agility.

While their performances in the staged environment aren't identical, their stats in their final season in college were.

Casey Washington (2023)

Puka Nacua (2022)

Receptions:

49

48

Receiving Yards:

670

625

Receiving TDs:

4

5

Casey Washington proved to be slightly more explosive than Nacua but he also wasn't quite as consistent. Nacua played in fewer games and had three 100-yard games while Washington didn't break triple-digits until his final game when he went for 218 yards and four touchdowns.

We also have to point out the fact that Puka Nacua was in a better situation. He was playing around some elite talent and had fifth-round pick Jaren Hall throwing him the ball. Washington had John Paddock who, ironically, was signed by the Falcons as an undrafted free agent.

Again, I am not saying Casey Washington will be Puka Nacua—there is a 99% chance he won't be. What I am saying is that we should trust that Zac Robinson and Raheem Morris know what a diamond-in-the-rough receiver looks like. Casey Washington could be a surprise contributor in his first season.

feed

Next. Matt Ryan lands new role. Matt Ryan lands new role in media. dark