Prospects rise and fall constantly during the NFL Draft. Despite having tools like the NFL Combine, it doesn’t always accurately predict a player’s potential. An example of this is Florida’s Jachai Polite, who may be a victim of the Combine’s evaluation system. Still, his tape is undeniably solid and could be an overlooked talent that the Los Angeles Rams may want to consider.
College stats and honors:
2018: 45 tackles, 11 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 4 pass deflections.
Career: 78 tackles, 15 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 4 pass deflections.
Honors: Led the nation in forced fumbles with 6 (2018), second team AP All-Pro (2018) and Bednarik award semi-finalist (2018).
Want to a see an athletic edge rusher? Just watch some film of Polite. He’s extremely quick off the edge, and generally causes linemen to pay extra attention to him. Previous opponents would bring in tight ends to help slow down his pursuit. He’s pass-rush looks effortless with his instinctive skill set. Polite’s spin moves, quick feet and use of misdirection almost seems unfair to linemen at times. He’s so elusive that he just seems to slip away from blockers. While in pursuit, he drives ball-carriers into the ground which is entertaining to see.
One of the reasons why Polite isn’t considered an elite prospect is because of his questionable character. An amazing athlete for sure, but his maturity level even had the Gators question him by having him sit one game last season. If that’s not bad enough, the NFL Combine did report of his terrible interviews. Not something a team wants to see from a first round prospect. Polite also didn’t perform in all of the Combine drills due to a surprise injury. This left him with a disappointing time of 4.84 seconds in the 40-yard dash. The results were disappointingly similar during his Pro Day.
Another thing to consider is that Polite isn’t the strongest edge rusher either. On tape, he is swallowed up easily by offensive linemen. They tend to overpower him, which is concerning because offensive linemen only get stronger on the next level. He will need to hit the weight room and get stronger to compete in the NFL. Also, his tackling technique does need some polishing.
Expected Draft Round:
The interesting thing about Polite is he does possess first round talent, but it’s difficult to take him seriously. I don’t put a ton of stock into the NFL Combine and Pro Day. That said, it’s hard to overlook his sub-par performances and his surprise injuries. I’d expect him to go in the late first round to the early second round. I would pass on Polite on pick No. 31 for the Rams. He’s a talent worth looking at, but there will be other talents available without character issues.