This is the seventh in an ongoing series on 2019 NFL Draft prospects by Chris Reed. He will analyze possible 2019 NFL Draft picks and their fit for the Raiders. Today, we look at Florida defensive end Jachai Polite.
Name: Jachai Polite
Great get off, deep pass rush toolbox, consistent pursuit effort, gets small with ease reducing blocking surface, fluid switches between initial move and counter move, solid tackler with great ball awareness.
A smaller prospect that had issues disengaging blocks, lack of length could be an issue at times, could struggle holding point of attack, may project better as an OLB than a true DE, no experience in coverage mostly played from a 2-point stance
Why He Would Fit the Raiders
Polite is a very fluid yet undersized pass rusher and the Raiders need pass rushing. His 11 sack and 19.5 tackles for loss last season will appeal to the coaching staff. Polite showed great ball awareness on his way to forcing eight fumbles in his three seasons – with six of them coming last season. Turnovers would go a long way in improving the teams 28th ranked starting field position.
Polite is the type of high motor and constant effort player Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock love. He doesn’t quit on plays and has a toughness that is out of his weight class. There is little doubt that he fits the mold of a “Gruden Grinder” and they may overlook any run defense deficiency to add a player that fits their culture so perfectly.
Why He Would Not Fit the Raiders
Polite is listed at a solid 240-pounds but is only 6-foot-2 in height. He showed some issues getting off blocks and keeping blockers out of his chest. Facing off with offensive tackles in the run game could be challenging for him. He may end up playing an outside linebacker role or simply being a situational pass rusher.
Any team looking at him in a linebacker role will be doing some serious projecting because Polite did not drop into coverage during his three years at Florida. They will be taking him for his athletic gifts with the belief that they can coach him up in the areas he lacks experience. The team has accomplished coaches on the defensive side of the ball but lack any real blue-chip role players. They may not be interested in using a first round pick on another raw prospect. A team with established players would benefit from his pass rushing but the Raiders are not such a team at this moment. Polite is one of the best pure pass rushers in this draft but they may look to an all-around defensive end type of player.