New York Jets head coach Adam Gase is only interested in what third-round pick Jachai Polite does from here on out, not what happened during the predraft process.
Few prospects in the 2019 NFL draft class could claim a worse offseason than Polite, who excelled as an explosive edge rusher at Florida last season. Poor performances at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine and even the Gators’ pro day workout were combined with questions about his character following his private interviews with teams and his press conference in Indy.
But Gase isn’t worried one bit about Polite’s road to wearing the Gang Green. He only cares about what happens now that he’s in the fold (via Manish Mehta, NY Daily News):
Adam Gase on the perceived risk associated with rookie Jachai Polite: “A fresh start. What happened in the past is irrelevant to me.”
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) May 10, 2019
Following the 2018 college football season, Polite was viewed by many analysts as a first-round prospect, thanks to his penchant for getting after opposing quarterbacks and knocking the ball loose once he arrived. In addition to his 17.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks last year, he also led the nation with six forced fumbles.
But his dreadful predraft process caused him to tumble on draft weekend, leaving him on the board for the Jets near the top of the third round. Without a second-round pick due to last year’s trade for the pick that ended up being quarterback Sam Darnold, landing a player of Polite’s caliber with their first of two third-round picks was a huge win for the Jets.
After losing out on Anthony Barr in free agency, the Jets could be getting a huge bargain in Polite, if he’s able to replicate the on-field success he had in college.