Florida EDGE Jachai Polite had one of the worst NFL Scouting Combine performances in recent times with teams starting to drop him off their draft boards. The San Francisco 49ers should be no exception.
At the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, the San Francisco 49ers must have felt like a kid in a candy store. Every top prospect they could possibly have been considering all did somewhere between reasonable and amazing.
Couple that with Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray measuring well and becoming the top prospect for the NFL Draft (if not the best overall prospect), and it literally couldn’t go much better for the Niners.
This can’t be said for Florida EDGE Jachai Polite, who torpedoed his own draft stock to the point that it almost defies belief.
How bad was it? Well, strap yourself for a series of tweets. Starting with Jon Ledyard:
Oh my word, where do we start with this?
In a draft class where there is an almost insane amount of talent that could have been even bigger, if not for players staying in school or some injuries while preparing for the big day, you do not want to slack off.
Polite showed up out of shape and didn’t impress whatsoever in the drills. A 1.71 10-yard split (for those unaware, this is taken from their 40-yard dash; teams use this to measure the explosiveness of a player) is extremely poor. For some comparisons, Ohio State EDGE Nick Bosa was a 1.60, Kentucky EDGE Josh Allen a 1.61, Florida State EDGE Brian Burns a 1.61, Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary a 1.63, the much heavier Quinnen Williams out of Alabama, a 1.67 and Mississippi State EDGE Montez Sweat a staggering 1.55.
They don’t sound much quicker on paper. But over a mere 10 yards, and dealing with overall times of barely over a second and a half, that is a damning stat.
Polite also didn’t impress at all in the interviews (more on that later) and then allegedly faked an injury before he blew off the rest of the combine. That is honestly staggering.
There are always players that kill their stock at the NFL Scouting Combine, but this was such a total destruction that you almost have to wonder if he did it on purpose.
Let’s move onto the next tweet by Brett Yarris:
How does an athlete not look at their own tape? The best way for an athlete to learn is to watch themselves in action, seeing what they do well and what they do wrong so they can work to a better result for the next game.
For Polite to not watch himself is a red flag for teams. It shows a prospect isn’t interesting in putting in the hard hours to better himself as a player. Any chance Polite had to ease these concerns got torpedoed (again) by himself (also again) via our last tweet by Zach Heilpin:
This speaks to me of a very sheltered individual who can’t take criticism. There have been a few teams that Polite spoke ill of for these interview tactics (including the 49ers), but the truth is these are common tactics for players with disciplinary issues. Polite had reported concerns off the field, and Charlie Campbell from Walter Football elaborated:
"The character concerns with Polite are comprised of a variety of factors. There are some minor concerns about maturity and accountability. There also are some minor worries about how he spends recreational time and hobbies. But perhaps the biggest issue is concerns about how Polite conducted himself during his sophomore year when Jim McElwain’s staff was on their way out. Some evaluators are worried that Polite quit on the staff and led teammates to do the same."
Safe to say that Polite did nothing whatsoever to alleviate these concerns.
The 49ers are blessed with a great pick that they will surely use on an EDGE (Bosa will rightfully be the pick, if available). And depending on how free agency goes, it isn’t inconceivable they could double up at the draft at the position, given their need and the deep class.
But the 49ers also need players of impeccable character. Polite is showing he isn’t possessing the maturity needed to play at the pro level. Unless he can somehow do a major 180 and salvage some of his draft stock by showing a deeper maturity, the 49ers need to strike him off the draft board and look elsewhere no matter which round he may be available in.