Did the New York Jets get a steal in pass rusher Jachai Polite?

The New York Jets drafted Jachai Polite in the third-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Sep 22, 2018; Knoxville, TN, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Jachai Polite (99) celebrates during the first quarter of a game against Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Jets picked Florida pass rusher Jachai Polite in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft, most had their reservations, but it marked the second talented defensive lineman they selected.

Polite had one of the worst NFL Combine performances in recent memory, but it shouldn’t scare you away, as in fact, he’s an extremely effective and production pass rusher.

Being bothered by a hamstring injury certainly didn’t do him any favors in the Combine — his usual fast speed and agility were hurt badly with a 4.84 40 yard-dash. He only participated in two events due to his deficiency.

The New York Jets may have gotten a steal in Jachai Polite:

On the field last year, Polite was one of college’s most effective playmakers, racking up six fumbles, 11 sacks, and 19.5 tackles for a loss. His numbers skyrocketed in 2018 and it gave him the foundation to be a high draft pick. At one point, he was even considered a first-round selection, but we can see how detrimental the Combine really is to a player’s stock.


However, while his statistics tell a positive story, he’s also had issues off the field and was even benched at one point for violating team rules. He has endured some other issues too — having terrible interviews at the Combine to go along with his performance.

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If the third-round pick can manage to alleviate his off the field concerns and reach his potential, there’s no question he can be the steal of the draft for the Jets. There’s reason to believe Polite will flourish in an aggressive Gregg Williams defense that requires speed and agility off the line of scrimmage. It’s not guaranteed he will earn a starting role off the bat, but that ultimately comes down to him and if he shines this offseason during training camp and pre-season.