Florida Gators edge rusher Jachai Polite had to know that he was unlikely to hear his name called early in the 2019 NFL Draft after the blowback to his infamously poorly-received trip to the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this spring.
But when he finally did hear that name said — as the New York Jets took him in the third round with the 68th overall pick — he might well have been comforted to hear it.
After all, one of Florida’s best pass rushers in recent memory will now get to try retiring moms with the help of a couple of the better defensive backs who call Florida DBU.
Polite joins safety Marcus Maye, a 2017 Jets draftee, and corner Brian Poole, who signed with the Jets after departing the Atlanta Falcons this offseason, on the defense being assembled by Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan — which would seem likely to be the only NFL offense or defense with three Gators for the 2019 season.
And if Polite can produce like he did as a Gator on the field — where he combined burst, savvy, and relentless pursuit of the quarterback to record 11 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss as a junior in 2018 — then all the noise about Polite’s poor performances in the pre-draft process in both athletic testing and team interviews is going to look pretty silly.
Of course, that’s an if for at least the next several months, even if Polite would seem like a snug fit for a 3-4 defense that will be aggressive to a fault under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
But Polite, surely seething at least a bit about his stock falling over the course of his spring, might not live up to his surname if unleashed properly as a pro.