The NFL Draft inches another day closer, with rumors, speculation, and smokescreens increasing all across the league and the web. As the Draft continues to dominate the NFL calendar, with the first round just over 48 hours away, we continue to look at potential Miami Dolphins draft prospects.
While our primary focus is on players Miami might select with the 13th overall pick, our seventh edition to the series of articles changes that up a little bit. Our sixth prospect is someone who could go as high as the late first round, or could slide all the way to Day 3 of the selection process - or possibly even out of the Draft altogether. Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite established himself among the top collegiate pass rushers this past season, then everything began blowing up for him at the NFL Scouting Combine. Would the Dolphins take a shot at Polite in a trade-back or second/third day pick?
Jachai Polite bio
Age: 21 (March 30, 1998)
Born: Daytona Beach, FL
High School: Mainland High School, Daytona Beach, FL
As a freshman, Polite played inside on the defensive line, appearing in 12 games with 11 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, and two sacks. He moved outside as a defensive end for his sophomore season, playing in seven games, with four starts, and recording 22 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, with two sacks before a shoulder injury ended his season. This past season as a junior, he only started five games but appeared in all 13 for the Gators, recording 45 tackles, with 17.5 tackles for a loss, and 11 sacks, with a nation-high six forced fumbles. He was named second-team All-American by the Associated Press and was considered a hot prospect heading into the offseason until...
Jachai Polite measurables
Weight: 258 lbs.
40-yard dash: 4.84
Vertical jump: 32.0
A groin and/or hamstring injury was cited as the reasoning behind the extremely slow 40-yard dash time for player who makes plays based on speed and athleticism. At Florida’s Pro Day, Polite did not help himself, where, injuring the other hamstring, he ran a 5.04 in the 40. Part of the issue for Polite may be the rapid gain in mass, with an additional 20 pounds added from his Florida playing weight in an effort to conform more to NFL prototypes.
However, Polite again did himself no favors in interviews, according to various reports. At his media availability at the Combine, he oddly called out teams for “picking apart” his film - and he admitted he does not watch film. It was a bad look overall for Polite, and it could impact where he is drafted.
What they are saying
Eboracum, Hogs Haven - He’s undersized, poor at stopping the run, has a bit of an injury history, and has yet to show that he can add weight and strength without sacrificing speed. In his rookie year in the NFL, he will probably be best used as a situational pass rusher in obvious passing situations, which probably knocks him out of the 1st round. Based on the tape alone, I think I’d project him as a 2nd round pick. Given the poor combine, I could see him dropping to the 3rd.
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com - Just one year of big-time production, but he’s an instinctive rusher with natural feel for attacking the pocket. Polite’s frightening speed to the edge on tape was missing in his pre-draft workouts as he showed up much heavier and with purported hamstring issues during all of his testing. The game tape shows an ability to rush the pocket with a fluid, diverse attack, but he might not have the grit necessary to play the run as a 3-4 outside linebacker on early downs. His troubling post-season that included bad combine interviews, bad workouts and additional weight around the midsection has substantially clouded his draft standing into the boom-or-bust category. Comparison: Damontre Moore. Projection: Day 3 (Rounds 4-7).
Joe Marino, The Draft Network - Polite has the burst, flexibility, rush variety, processing skills and twitch needed to become an impact pass rusher in the NFL. With that said, his lack of play strength, length, and mass limits his upside as a run defender. Polite projects favorably to a 3-4 outside linebacker role but hasn’t been tasked with coverage drops so his ability there remains to be seen. Polite should see the field early in his career on passing downs where he should be an effective pass rusher as he develops the rest of his skill set to become an every-down option.
Gavino Borquez, USA Today Draft Wire - Polite is a slippery edge rusher with initial speed and burst, flexibility, lateral and short areas quicks to threaten the pocket on a regular basis. He lacks the strength, but his ability to slip blockers, range and technical prowess make up for it. He is still learning how to put together a consistent pass rush plan and will need to get better vs. the run, but it’s all there as a high impact pass rusher in the NFL. His frame may limit him to a 3-4 outside linebacker, but he will primarily be lined up out wide of the line of scrimmage.
Video breakdowns and film
Should Dolphins be interested?
I like Polite and think he has a ton of potential. Where he lands in the Draft will be an interesting watch. You could argue, no matter where he is selected, it was both a reach and a steal. His Combine was ugly, and his interviews were bad, but there are mitigating circumstances that make sense, even if they feel like they are excuses - injuries and just not knowing what the interview process was going to be like. He seems like he has the potential to become something special, but it may not be an immediate domination. If Miami trades back in the first, or is looking to select him on Day 2 - or Day 3 if he is still there - that could be a great move.
How would you grade the Dolphins pick of Jachai Polite?
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