New York Giants Draft Profile: Edge Defender Jachai Polite

The New York Jets drafted Jachai Polite in the third-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

His last name might be Polite… but on the football field, he’s as rude as they come.

Jachai Polite is 3-4 edge rusher out of the University of Florida. He decided to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft after a productive junior season. Polite is expected to be selected in the first round of the draft.

In his junior year, Jachai was able to total an impressive 11 sacks. On top of that, he added 19.5 tackles for loss. Polite was also able to force 6 fumbles and have 4 passes defended.

Strengths:

Jachai Polite has a variety of elite speed-rush moves. He is able to win with the spin move, swim move, and his incredible bend. His bend allows him to win on the outside and make his way back to the quarterback. His frame and flexibility are ideal for NFL edge defenders.

Jachai is a thin edge defender, which is the reason for his speed. He should be expected to run a quick 40 yard-dash. His speed and quickness off the edge could draw comparisons to Von Miller. It is one of his biggest strengths and makes him an exciting prospect in this class.

Weaknesses:

Jachai Polite is an elite speed-rusher, however, every prospect has his flaws. Polite is not limited as only a speed-rusher, but he is not elite in run defense. He can hold his own, but he will not be a strong, consistent presence against the run. Polite might need to gain weight and strength once he makes it to the NFL.

Too often Jachai gets pushed off of the line and out of the play against the run. He also does not have enough strength and power to move tackles into running lanes. He is a secure tackler and has solid pursuit, so if the runner comes in his area, Jachai will make the play. But he has not consistently shown the ability to go through blockers to get to the runner.

Draft Stock:

Right now, days before the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, Jachai Polite is considered a top-25 pick in this year’s draft. However, he has room for improvement. Some added weight and an impressive showing in the bench-press could move him up some teams’ draft boards.

Jachai will be expected to perform near the top of his position’s class in the dash, shuttle, and cone drills because of his speed and quickness. But if he performs well in the strength tests and interviews too, he could improve his stock.

In order for Jachai Polite to be in play for the Giants, a couple of things need to happen. First, the Giants need to decide they do not consider any quarterback in this draft class to be a franchise guy. Second, the Giants need to trade back.

Polite is not expected to be a top 10 pick. But, if the Giants move back between picks 10 and 20, Jachai Polite could be a home run selection along with the added draft capital the Giants would acquire in that trade.

New York Yankees: Greg Bird Shows Why He’s A 2019 Breakout Candidate

Despite a loss in the first game of the Grapefruit spring training league, the New York Yankees walked away with valuable information that will help decide the starters for the 2019 season.

The Boston Red Sox chose to start only 1-2 regular players from the regular season roster, while the Yanks utilized several starters in their first game of the spring. A majority of the experience came through youth players such as Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, and Greg Bird.

All three have seen their fair share of struggles whether it be offensive production or defensive efficiency.

How did Greg Bird perform for the New York Yankees?

In the midst of a first base position battle, Greg Bird put up a solid first outing of the season. He went 2-2 at the plate with a double and a run scored. He looked disciplined and confident in the box, providing optimism for fans and coaches alike. Coming off a significant foot injury which stunted his growth, Bird gave us reason to believe that he’s more than capable of being a productive player on the starting roster.

The 26-year-old has yet to hit at least .200 thus far in his two-year career. However, he has hit 31 homers in two seasons, which could be a reason general manager Brian Cashman hasn’t given up on the left-handed batter.

Bird oddly fits into the batting order nicely:

The Yankees have taken a home-run centric approach to their offense, and Bird fits right in when considering that statistic.

Moving forward, I would expect Luke Voit to start the season at first base, despite struggling defensively at times. His hitting was phenomenal in 2018 – batting .333 with the Bombers after being traded from the Cardinals. Voit is a power hitter that also meshes well with the batting order- I anticipate manager Aaron Boone playing the hot hand and alternating to find who proves to a be a more secure option.

Aaron Boone stated in regard to the position battle:

“We are a long way between now and the end of March. Luke Voit has earned the right to be that guy, but as I have said all along, I believe Greg Bird can be an impact player,’’ manager Aaron Boone stated after the Yankees’ 5-8 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday. “I never lost sight of that even at his lowest point last year.’’

New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. Vows To Dominate In 2019

With rumors spreading that the New York Giants nearly traded star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the New England Patriots, the spark was ignited to a fiery offseason full of trade proposals and questionable motives.

Beckham has heard enough, consistently expressing his concerns over social media. Every season the rumors follow him and the option for departure clown his murky future. But, his future is with the Giants, just ask general manager Dave Gettleman who clearly indicated the team would not sign him just to trade him away.

A rookie helping a veteran:

For a star player, the noise can sometimes be too much. Antonio Brown can vouch for that, yet it seems like he welcomes the aggression and attention from fans and team executives alike. Beckham has managed to stay out of the negative spotlight ever since rookie phenom Saquon Barkley was drafted.

Who would have thought that an even bigger star the Odell would be the one to tame him and bring him back to reality. The tantrums stopped, the kicking net has been spared, and the locker room kept tightly wound. A huge difference than a season ago where everything fell apart at the seams starting with Beckham’s arrogance.

The season ahead presents a new challenge, one with a different culture behind the scenes and an upgraded offensive line. There are still units that are in dire need of support, but Gettleman will find a way to put the right pieces in place. Eli Manning’s final campaign will be exciting yet dramatic at the same time.

The New York Giants needs to help Odell Beckham Jr. stay sane:

Moving forward, Beckham must find a way to put on his blinders – look the other way when big sports networks try to sell a falsehood or narrative. It’s all smoke and mirrors – let your play do the talking.

Beckham clearly spoke to the “loyal” fans out there, and there are a lot. He said all the right things – keep your head down and work hard, that’s all the global star can do. The spotlight is for in-season, not the offseason.

Building upon a stellar four-year career is essential, and Beckham will look to break personal records in 2019 on an offense that is more than capable of success.

New York Yankees: Will Masahiro Tanaka break out in 2019?

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

With the New York Yankees making several offseason moves to bolster their roster, some of their current talents are primed for big years in 2019. One such talent is Masahiro Tanaka, who put together a solid 2018 and continued to excel in big moments. Despite allowing many home runs and dealing with injuries, expect Tanaka to continue producing as the Yankees #2 starter.

2018 Stats (New York Yankees):

12-6, 3.75 ERA, 27 Starts, 159 SO, 156 IP, 1.128 WHIP, 2.9 WAR

After turning in an inconsistent 2017, Tanaka turned a corner in 2018, winning at least 12 games for a fifth straight year. He once again excelled in big games, including allowing only one run in five innings against the Red Sox in the ALDS. Despite winning game 2, the Red Sox would win the series en route to their fourth world series title in 15 years.

Tanaka will most likely be looked upon as the #2 starter of an improved Yankees rotation. He will join ace Luis Severino, along with C.C. Sabathia, J.A. Happ, and former Seattle ace James Paxton. Add in a powerful, albeit right-handed heavy lineup and nasty bullpen, and the Yankees will once again look to contend.

The biggest question with Tanaka is his health, specifically in his pitching arm. We all know about the partial UCL tear in his elbow that he’s had since 2014. It helps that he prefers movement over velocity and is not a flamethrower like Severino. Another concern is his allowance of home runs en masse. He’s only given up less than 20 bombs once in his MLB career, which was 2014. Since then, he’s allowed at least 22 in his next four seasons, including a career-high 35 in 2017.

Overall, look for Tanaka to continue his current pace, perhaps even improve in his current role in the rotation. Once the Yankees return to the postseason, expect Tanaka to further cement himself as a quality playoff pitcher, and maybe even a series MVP.

2019 Stats Predictions:

13-5, 3.01 ERA, 30 Starts, 162 SO, 160.1 IP, 1.119 WHIP

Awards Predictions:

All-Star, Top-25 Cy Young Award Finish

New York Yankees: 5 Important Takeaways From First Grapefruit Game Vs Red Sox

Despite the New York Yankees losing their first game of spring training to the Boston Red Sox, we saw several very exciting actions that indicated growth for some struggling players. The beginning of the game saw the Yanks step out to a 3-0 lead early on before the Sox picked up their offensive production and took a 6-3 lead.

Five takeaways we saw from the New York Yankees’ performance:

1.) Gleyber Torres starts out strong:

In just the first inning and second batter of the day, Gleyer Torres stepped up to the plate with a 1-2 count. He caught a hanging curveball dropping into the zone for a dead-center home run, clearing the fence and seeing the center-fielder sit back and watch as it soared over his head.

https://twitter.com/mrevandaniel/status/1099371863258607616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1099371863258607616&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fempiresportsmedia.com%2Fnew-york-yankees%2Fnew-york-yankees-gleyber-torres-starts-off-grapefruit-league-with-monster-home-run%2F

Torres finished 2018 with a .271 batting average and 24 homers. He performed well in the first half of the season but fell off toward the end. It could have been due to fatigue after a long season rotating between second base and shortstop. It was great to see Torres start off the game with a long-ball, and it could be foreshadowing a stellar season for the young phenom.

Moving forward, I expect Torres to feature at second base for a majority of the season, but also spend time at SS with Didi Gregorius rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

2.) Greg Bird looks sharp:

One of the biggest position battles this year will feature first baseman Greg Bird and Luke Voit. It’s expected that the latter option will earn the start at the beginning of the season after finishing 2018 with a .333 batting average.

Bird finished his first game of 2019 with two hits in two at-bats — one of which was a long ball off the center field wall and the other an infield single. His hitting was smooth and efficient – he seemed far more comfortable at the plate and was hitting with confidence and gusto.

It seems as if Bird is finally back to 100% health.

3.) Clint Frazier gets first hit but looks shaky at the plate:

It’s only fair we give Frazier the benefit of the doubt as he regains his form at the professional level. In his first at-bat of the day, he looped a single into center field but followed that up with a strikeout and a fly out to right field. His legendary bat speed seemed to be there and he made some nice contact, but I would love to see him improve his location.

Frazier looked rusty at the plate, but overall there is a ton of potential there to be tapped.

4.) Tyler Wade has a successful day:

Yankees utility man Tyler Wade put up a decent day in the first Grapefruit League game of spring training. He slapped a double to deep right and earned a run after stealing third and scoring on a Lipka double to center field. It was nice to see him start off strong as he might be asked this season to act as a rotational/depth piece.

5.) McBroom goes deep and provides a reason for optimism:

The Yankees have themselves a few questions marks at first base, so why not throw another one into the mix. Ryan McBroom started off spring training going 1-for-2 at the plate with a solo home run to left field. He looked solid despite having a few defensive mishaps that weren’t entirely his fault.

A throw from second-baseman Thairo Estrada bounced in the dirt in front of McBroom causing him to drop an easy out. I wouldn’t count that against the first baseman but rather Estrada. Overall, I like what McBroom showed in his limited time, I’m intrigued by his skill set and want to see more of him this spring.

Penn State Gets New ST Coordinator and QB, Planned Facility Upgrade

It’s a decent week to be a fan of the Penn State Nittany Lions. There’s been a flurry of news this week around the team, even though it’s still the offseason and no actual team activities have started just yet, and that news ranges from recruiting updates to news about one of the team’s main facilities. Perhaps the most notable recent news, though, is that the team has filled one of the main vacancies on their staff going into next season.

Special Teams Coordinator Phil Galiano made the move to the NFL and joined the New Orleans Saints staff as an assistant, leaving Penn State with an opening at the position. That opening has been filled by Joe Lorig, who previously coached at Memphis and had the same position before moving to Texas Tech and then moving up to Penn State before settling into the new job.

With Memphis not giving up a special teams touchdown under Lorig during his few years with the program, it seems like Penn State is getting a good addition to fill out their staff.

Another noteworthy piece of news is that the team has a new quarterback joining their 2020 class. Micah Bowens, who plays for well-known high school program Bishop Gorman, committed on Tuesday. Bowens is ranked as the 4th best recruit in Nevada and the 23rd best dual threat quarterback in the class overall, and also has offers from Arizona and BYU.

Bowens has showed off his skills on the ground plenty so far in high school, and this looks like a continuation of the trend of Penn State recruiting mobile quarterbacks.

Finally, it’s worth noting that the team’s main training facility, the Lasch Building, is scheduled for renovations worth $1.5M after a large donation from alum John Leone, who recently gave $6.5M to the school in total. Of course, the building has been renovated before in the past, but in a conference like the Big Ten, it never hurts to do more and keep up with high quality competition such as Ohio State and Michigan.