2019 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Florida EDGE Jachai Polite

HEIGHT: 6-3

WEIGHT: 258

COLLEGE: Florida

CLASS: Junior

2018 STATS: 45 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 4 passes defended, 6 forced fumbles (13 games)

CAREER STATS: 78 tackles, 28.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, 4 passes defended, 8 forced fumbles (29 games)

GAMES WATCHED (13): LSU, South Carolina, Florida State, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Colorado State, Idaho, Georgia, Charleston Southern, Michigan (2018)

40 BENCH VERT BROAD 3 CONE 20S 60S

BALL GET-OFF (20/20)

  • Exceptional first-step quickness — gets a lot of depth out of stance in first few steps
  • Good snap count anticipation

RUN DEFENSE (15/20)

  • Subpar as a front-side run defender — struggles to shed blocks at the point of attack/maintain run fits consistently
  • Shows ability to set the edge on occasion, but doesn’t hold it consistently
  • Does a solid job of maintaining outside edge contain even when giving up ground to blockers; can at least funnel runners inside to where his help is
  • Really good at slanting into gaps to make tackles in the backfield
  • Tremendous playmaking range — can cover tons of ground in every direction with explosive and fluid movement
  • Great at chasing down runs from the backside as an unblocked defender or pursuit defender
  • Good tackler in space and in traffic
  • Typically takes good pursuit angles in run support
  • Processes plays quickly and doesn’t bite on play fakes
  • Great awareness of chop blocks

TECHNIQUE (12/15)

  • Solid overall hand usage — favors the dip-and-rip speed rush, but also has a speed chop, cross-chop, stutter-step, long arm and lethal spin move
  • Good hand placement as a run defender, but can usually get outreached/controlled due to lack of length
  • Does a nice job of using hesitation in rush; keeps offensive tackles guessing
  • Can be too reliant on first-step quickness to win pass rush reps — doesn’t always have an inside counter-move to free himself from blocks if he stalls at the top of the arc
  • Has a knack for strip sacks
  • Plays with leverage on a consistent basis

POWER (12/15)

  • Developing power moves — flashed a long arm and bull rush on 2018 film
  • Struggles to anchor vs. the run at times

FLEXIBILITY (13.5/15)

  • Good shoulder and ankle flexibility
  • Can turn the corner on offensive tackles at relatively tight angles
  • Could do a better job of getting his hips/feet pointed toward the pocket earlier in his outside rush to turn the corner at tighter angles

SIZE/PHYSICAL TRAITS (4.5/5)

  • Size may limit him to 3-4 outside linebacker role in base defenses
  • Can get outreached due to average length — 32 5/8″ arms

MOTOR (5/5)

  • Motor constantly runs hot vs. run and pass

SPEED/AGILITY (5/5)

  • Fantastic closing speed
  • Excellent agility/change-of-direction
  • Has shown the ability to drop into coverage

OVERALL GRADE: 87.00/100.00 — 1ST ROUND — Good player with Pro Bowl potential

NFL COMPARISON: Robert Mathis

SCHEME FIT: Weak-side 3-4 OLB

DRAFT PROJECTION: Top-15 pick

Jachai Polite is primarily a speed rusher, but he has shown an ability to win with finesse moves and occasionally power moves as well. He’s somewhat of a liability as a front-side run defender, but his pass rush ability and playmaking ability as a backside run defender more than outweigh his deficiencies. Polite’s motor and explosiveness make him a tough assignment for any offensive tackle in pass protection, and when he’s tapped into his counter game, he’s nearly unblockable.

While he has demonstrated the ability to cross an offensive tackle’s face and win inside with a devastating spin move, that seems to be his only consistent counter move at the moment. If he wants to become an upper-echelon NFL edge-rusher in the future, he’ll need to diversify his counter game to keep offensive tackles guessing on the occasions where he doesn’t win the rep with his initial move. Additional bulk/strength could also benefit Polite if he can maintain his explosiveness at a higher playing weight. With a few years of physical and technical development, Polite can become a perennial Pro Bowler and possibly even All-Pro caliber player. His ceiling is exceptionally high, and he seems to be just scratching the surface of his immense potential.” — Dan Wussow

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