- How the Florida edge rusher might have run, jumped and talked his way out of the first round. Plus, the Cardinals meet with Nick Bosa, and could the Bengals take a QB?
Jachai Polite made the wrong kind of headlines at the combine. Along with a lackluster workout, he spent part of his press conference calling out NFL teams for grilling him in one-on-one interviews. “They just bashed me the whole time.”
The Florida defensive end had an impressive junior season, finishing with 11 sacks and establishing himself as one of the nation’s top edge rushers. He was considered a bit undersized—he’s 6' 2" and worked his way down to 245 pounds last season—but showed the agility and quickness to get to the quarterback. Based on his tape alone, most considered him a first-round candidate.
His stock has fallen sharply since the end of the season. Polite attempted to bulk up for his NFL workouts—in Indianapolis he weighed in at 258 pounds—but appeared out of shape. His 4.84 forty was second-slowest among all EDGE players at combine, and his 32-inch vertical was fourth-worst. He pulled out of the rest of the drills with a hamstring injury. Things got worse at Florida’s pro day last week; Polite, who said his hamstring is still bothering him, ran a 5.04 forty.
Polite also said this of the Packers, one of the teams that “bashed” him during combine interviews: “They were trying to figure out my character. That’s their job… [They asked] character questions… accountability.”
One scout said his team is currently 50/50 on whether to keep Polite on their board. He will absolutely still get a chance to play in the NFL and can still save his stock by showing up ready for every visit he has, or every team that wants to work him out locally. When asked about his combine comments at his pro day, Polite told reporters, “I just wasn’t ready at all. I wasn’t ready mentally, to be honest. It was more intimidating, for sure. And I took the criticism too personally. I took it the wrong way.”
• Our Albert Breer reported that the Raiders are working out quarterback Kyler Murray in Dallas today, and that the Cardinals will host Ohio State DE Nick Bosa in Arizona on Thursday and Friday, as one of their 30 allotted in-house prospect visits. Bosa also had dinner with the Cardinals brass on Friday night in Fort Lauderdale. The Cardinals are doing their work on Bosa, whether it’s out of serious interest or for keeping up appearances and making other teams think they haven’t decided what they’ll do with the first pick. And the Raiders are spending their time on Murray, which could mean they might be interested in trading up for him, or they are preparing for the scenario where Murray is not the first pick. The Raiders will head to Columbus tomorrow to work out Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. And the entire Raiders coaching staff spent a week coaching Drew Lock at the Senior Bowl, so they may not need to spend any more time with him.
• An interesting observation from Pro Football Focus analyst Mike Renner:
Defenders with <= 4.65 40s and <=7.0 3-cones weighing >250 pounds at combine this century:— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) April 1, 2019
Leighton Vander Esch
• Based off of Bengals owner Mike Brown’s comments on Andy Dalton at the owners’ meetings, I would keep an eye on Cincinnati as a team that might surprise and take a quarterback in this draft. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brown said he will not consider extending quarterback Andy Dalton’s contract [which runs through the 2020 season] before this season. “I think it's a good year for [Dalton] to show like he can, like we think he will,” said Brown. “After he re-establishes himself we would want to get together with him and see if we can extend it.”
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