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Jachai Polite is still a tough NFL draft prospect to figure out

ESPN analyst Todd McShay: “He didn’t do himself any favors” during the pre-draft process.
Florida Gators defensive lineman Jachai Polite (99) moves to tackle Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Stephen Johnson (15) during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Times 2016)
Published Apr. 9

Former Florida Gators pass rusher Jachai Polite remains one of the more intriguing prospects in this month’s NFL draft.

Which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

“He’s a tough one, because there’s a lot of potential on tape when you evaluate him,” ESPN analyst Todd McShay said in a teleconference with reporters Tuesday. “He’s long…I think he’s plays faster than he times. He’s athletic, and I think he can be a very good pass rusher.”

Those are all positive things about the 6-foot-2, 250-pound prospect. But Polite’s performance at the scouting combine was not good. He didn’t help himself enough at his pro day, which is why he’s slipping out of the first round in the latest mock drafts and more likely to go in the second or third.

“He didn’t do himself any favors (during the pre-draft process),” McShay said. “But hopefully for Polite, he gets in the league with the right supporting cast, the right situation, builds confidence and just takes off, because he’s got enough talent to become an every-down starter.”

Florida Gators defensive lineman Jachai Polite (99) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times)

Polite forced six fumbles as a junior last season (to tie the Gators’ single-season record) and was among the SEC’s leaders with 17 1/2 tackles for a loss.

In other draft thoughts, McShay called Jawaan Taylor the “best, most complete, talented offensive tackle in the draft.” Taylor is a potential top-10 pick who has had a lot of contact with the Bucs.

McShay also said Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary also had a disappointing combine; he called his numbers “really scary.” That has bumped Singletary from McShay’s No. 2 running back prospect down to a third- or fourth-round pick.


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