Jachai Polite

AFC Notes: Raiders, Jets, McSorley

We previously heard that the Ravens were envisioning a role for rookie Trace McSorley that was similar to Taysom Hill‘s role on the Saints. However, the sixth-rounder is already experimenting with a position that isn’t played by Hill. Talking with “The Lounge” podcast on the Ravens’ website, McSorley said that he took reps as a punt returner during OTAs.

“It’s something that’s a new challenge for me, something that I hadn’t really had never done,” McSorley said (via NFL.com’s Logan Reardon). “So it’s just something interesting to be able to come in and learn and try and prove myself in a different way that I can be able to get on the field and make an impact.

“It’s been interesting. It’s had its ups and downs, obviously the first couple times doing it, but it’s going well. I’m looking forward to be able to come out and do anything that I can, especially in the special teams aspect for the team. I want to prove myself there.”

While the former Penn State quarterback is unlikely to supplant Lamar Jackson under center, he’ll have an opportunity to contribute elsewhere. McSorley already displayed this versatility during his collegiate career, as he rushed for 1,697 yards and 30 touchdowns through three seasons.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Could a pair of Jets third-rounders already be on the hot seat? Albert Breer of SI.com writes that “it’s worth keeping an eye” on Florida defensive end Jachai Polite (No. 68) and USC offensive tackle Chuma Edoga (N0. 92). Considering their “character and makeup,” Breer opines that neither players are Joe Douglas– or Adam Gase-types. Of course, Breer also notes that the duo have “a boatload of talent,” which makes their future even more intriguing.
  • While the Raiders have done a whole lot to revamp their roster this offseason, the team still has some major holes. As Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, the team’s defensive line is accompanied by a long list of question marks. Part of the unit’s success will naturally depend on first-rounder Clelin Ferrell, who is expected to play a three-down role for the Raiders. Bair also points to former Giants and Cardinals defensive end Josh Mauro as someone who could play a relatively important role on the front-seven.
  • We learned earlier today that Bengals first-round offensive tackle Jonah Williams is likely to miss the entire season after undergoing surgery on his left shoulder.

Jets Sign Jachai Polite

The Jets have signed third-round draft choice Jachai Polite, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). That leaves only No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams and fellow third-rounder Chuma Edoga left unsigned from Gang Green’s 2019 class.

Polite will be an interesting story to follow, as the Florida product is a player who once had first-round buzz but who slipped after bombing at the combine. Polite also saw his stock plummet thanks to rumblings about his work ethic and unwillingness to do what was asked of him by coaches, and he was battling hamstring issues as of last month.

Jets GM Mike Maccagnan, though, seems to think his coaching staff can maximize Polite’s potential. Maccagnan said after the draft, “We know some of the risk in [Polite]. We also think there are some very good qualities about him.”

And New York could certainly use Polite’s pass rushing ability. Polite racked up 11 sacks during his final season with the Gators, and the Jets finished in the middle of the pack last year with 39 quarterback takedowns.

Polite joins a revamped front seven that includes Williams — viewed as perhaps the best overall player in the 2019 draft — and C.J. Mosley. The team also re-upped 2018 breakout performer Henry Anderson.

Per the CBA slotting system for rookies, Polite’s deal will be a four-year pact worth a total of $3.6MM. It includes a $1.1MM signing bonus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Rumors: Redskins, Bills, Jets, Eagles

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones will meet with the Redskins today and tomorrow, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Washington will also sit down with Northwestern signal-caller Clayton Thorson on Wednesday, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, adding that fellow quarterbacks Drew Lock (Missouri) and Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) have already visited with the Redskins. Washington is looking at nearly all the top QB prospects, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given the status of Alex Smith‘s knee injury. Smith isn’t expected to play in 2019, and while the Redskins have already acquired veteran Case Keenum, the club is searching for a long-term option to place under center.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • The Bills are hosting Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown Wednesday, while Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen‘s meeting with Buffalo will occur on Thursday, per Rapoport (Twitter link). Although the Bills invested in pass-catching help during free agency, adding both John Brown and Cole Beasley on multi-year deals to a depth chart that already included Zay Jones and Robert Foster, the team is still in need of receivers. Brown (6’1″, 225) posted at least 75 receptions, 1,250 yards, and six touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. Allen, meanwhile, isn’t likely to be available for Buffalo at No. 9 overall, but the club could potentially trade up given that it owns the sixth-most draft capital.
  • Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams is meeting with the Jets, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Gang Green ranked dead last in Football Outsiders‘ run-blocking metric in 2018 (and 18th in pass-blocking), but so far the club has only addressed its offensive line by acquiring guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders. New York’s tackle situation has remained unchanged, with Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell projected to start on the left and right sides, respectively. Williams is expected to come off the board early in Round 1.
  • The Bengals met with Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite last week, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Cincinnati has edge depth with Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard, and Kerry Wynn in tow, but Polite would give the team another option.
  • TCU defensive end L.J. Collier is meeting with the Lions, Eagles, and Seahawks, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds Collier is “quietly pushing” to become a first-round pick. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com currently ranks Collier as the No. 45 prospect, noting that while he isn’t an “elite bender,” Collier has the ability to play both inside and on the edge. In his senior season with TCU, Collier posted six sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in 11 games.
  • Penn State running back Miles Sanders has been vaulting up draft boards (he currently ranks one spot behind Collier at No. 46 on Jeremiah’s list), and he has a busy schedule ahead of him. Sanders is scheduled to work out for/meet with the Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Ravens, Bills, Cowboys, Falcons, Titans, Bengals, Panthers, Buccaneers, and Colts. In 2018, Sanders’ only season as a starter, he posted 1,274 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 220 attempts.

Draft Rumors: Quinnen, Taylor, Jacobs

Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is meeting with the Cardinals today, and is scheduled to sit down with the Jets and Giants in two weeks, according to Ian Rapoport and Kimberly Jones of NFL.com (Twitter links). While most observers believe Arizona will ultimately use the No. 1 overall selection on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Rapoport indicates both Williams and Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa are still in consideration for the top pick. The Jets and Giants present more realistic landing spots for Williams, who is viewed as the best interior prospect available. He’s also met with the Raiders and 49ers, each of whom hold top-five picks.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • The Falcons are working out Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor on Thursday, tweets Rapoport. Along with Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Taylor is considered one of the top tackle prospects on the board in 2019. Taylor, who didn’t work out at the combine due to injury, has also met with the Jaguars. Atlanta, for their part, released right tackle Ryan Schraeder earlier this year and extended Ty Sambrailo, who figures to enter the season as the Falcons’ starter on the right side. Taylor would be a luxury choice for Atlanta, who hold the 14th overall selection.
  • Alabama running back Josh Jacobs visited the Ravens today, reports Josh Norris of Rotoworld (Twitter link). Viewed as the best running back available in the draft, Jacobs could be on the board when Baltimore picks late in the first round. While Jacobs isn’t an elite athlete, he’s considered a true three-down back who could help immediately. The Ravens, of course, signed veteran Mark Ingram to pair with Gus Edwards, so running back isn’t necessarily their most obvious area of need.
  • The Rams hosted Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite on Wednesday, tweets Norris. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Los Angeles re-signed pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and also added Clay Matthews, but given that a club can never have too many defensive ends/linebackers, Polite could be in consideration.
  • Kansas State offensive tackle Dalton Risner met with the Broncos on Thursday, per Norris (Twitter link). Denver invested a 2017 first-round pick in Garett Bolles and made Ja’Wuan James the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle this offseason, but Risner could slide to guard if selected by the Broncos. Indeed, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com’s best comparison for Risner is Bears interior lineman Cody Whitehair.
  • The Seahawks will visit with Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry before the draft, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Harry (6’4″, 213) managed at least 70 receptions, 1,200 yards, and eight touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. He should be available when Seattle makes its first-round pick at No. 21, and could reinforce a Seahawks receiving corps that already includes Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin.

Extra Points: Brown, Steelers, CBA, Draft, AAF

We heard yesterday that an Antonio Brown trade was “close” and that three teams were “still alive”, but over 24 hours later we still don’t have a deal. While we await an end to the saga, it’s worth examining why the Steelers are so willing to meet Brown’s demands and trade him, writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Florio questions why the Steelers are seemingly “letting Brown dictate the terms of his employment,” and came up with a hypothesis based on his relationship with Ben Roethlisberger.

Brown has publicly gone after Roethlisberger in recent weeks, which could’ve solidified the Steelers’ resolve to ship him out. Florio theorizes that the feud between Brown and Roethlisberger isn’t just one-sided, and that Roethlisberger may be pushing for Brown to be gone behind the scenes. Florio thinks Roethlisberger may have given Pittsburgh’s management an ultimatum, and that could be why the team hasn’t tried to reconcile with Brown at all. It makes some sense, and if nothing else it’s an interesting theory.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • There’s been a lot of talk about a potential work stoppage when it comes time to negotiate the next CBA between the owners and the players’ union. There will be intense battles over things like contract guarantees, but one area the league plans to cede ground is on the substance abuse policy. The NFL is poised “to make major concessions regarding the substance-abuse policy, especially as it relates to marijuana,” according to Florio. Florio cautions that the details haven’t been ironed out yet, but the new CBA could completely get rid of any mention of Marijuana, making it permissible for everyone in the league.
  • There was a lot of talk about whether or not Kyler Murray made a bad impression in his combine interviews, but one player certainly did. Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite interviewed terrible, and his draft stock “is taking a massive tumble” as a result, according to Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Polite had been projected by many as a first round pick, but that now appears to be in serious jeopardy. Polite also performed poorly in the athletic testing portion of the combine, and later claimed an injury was responsible.
  • The new startup football league, the AAF, has had a tumultuous start. There was a good amount of drama surrounding their finances after the first week, but things appear to have stabilized since then with a huge $250MM investment coming from NHL owner Tom Dundon. Now Bill Polian, the Hall of Fame former Colts GM and one of the founders of the AAF, is hopeful about a potential partnership with the NFL. Polian said in a recent conference call with reporters that talk about a formal partnership with the league “is ramping up” behind the scenes, according to Tom Krasovic of The San Diego Union Tribune. “Our hope would be that that would happen as quickly as it possibly can,” Polian added.