A lot of people will say that a good pass rusher the second most important position on the field behind quarterback. The Packers will be in the market for an impact pass rusher this spring, especially with the uncertain futures of Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. Kyler Fackrell had a very good season, but I still question if he could be the teams best rusher. A player the Packers could target at 12 to fill that void is Florida’s Jachai Polite.
After only four total sacks during his freshman and sophomore years, he burst onto the scene his junior year tailing 11 sacks. Polite is 6-2, 260 pounds and posses impressive acceleration and athleticism for man of that size. Scouts also love his feet. He is never off balance, and can change direction quickly. He is comfortable playing in a two-point stance, which is most likely what he would be doing in Green Bay. You can’t make it to the NFL without talent obviously, but effort is something that doesn’t require talent. Polite has a tremendous motor, and doesn’t quit until the play is over. That is one of the most underrated traits of a pass rusher.
Using your hands to create separation from the offensive lineman is important for edge rushers. Right now Polite lacks the “punch” with his hands. Getting stronger could also help him compensate for his lack of punch. Polite has a pretty good spin move, but not much after that. Good offensive tackles will figure that out pretty quickly. He needs another move. The good thing is learning how to punch and secondary moves can be coached. Something he needs to work on that can’t be coached is instincts. Anticipating the snap count is huge for edge rushers. Getting that first step on the tackle has a good chance of the play ending in a sack or a holding call.
When will he be drafted?
I’ve read a lot of draft prospect pages, and looked over a lot of mock drafts. Polite will most likely be drafted in the top 15. The Packers could have a chance to get him at 12, but probably no chance at 30.
How does he fit the Packers?
He fits one of the Packers most glaring needs. Some scouts say his fame wouldn’t allow him to play a traditional defensive end, and is more suited to play OLB in a 3-4 scheme. Like I said earlier, there is a real chance that two of the Packers top three OLB’s are not back for the 2019 season. If Polite is there at 12, Gutekunst needs to really considering taking him to replace either Clay or Nick Perry.