New York Jets Rookies Forecast

By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

Solid Starter

Jachai Polite, DE, Florida – Round 3
At the end of the college football season, sources around the league felt that Polite was a pick worthy of going in the top half of the first round after being a terrorizing pass-rusher during 2018. He then had a disastrous offseason, including terrible workouts, that caused him to drop a few rounds before the Jets stole him in the third round.

There is a lot to like about Polite as a player, with his tape from 2018 showing him to be a dynamite quarterback hunter. He is a dangerous pass-rusher who shows good instincts and natural feel off the edge. Polite has good play recognition and uses his instincts to get in the right position to affect the quarterback or disrupt plays. As an edge defender, Polite has huge potential. He has the skill set to be an annual double-digit sack producer in the NFL if he commits himself to working hard and being the best he can be.

As a pure pass-rusher, Polite is fast off the edge with an excellent first-step and the speed to turn the corner while darting by offensive tackles. On top of his ability to fire off the snap and flat out run by tackles, he has a second gear with impressive closing speed to finish plays. Polite shows an inside counter move as well that makes it hard on tackles to commit to just trying to stop his speed rush around the corner. Polite has a the potential for a repertoire of moves with a spin move and an ability to dip under blockers. When he gets there, Polite is physical, putting quarterbacks and running backs down hard into the turf. Polite has good instincts to go for the strip with good awareness to adjust to scrambling quarterbacks.

Polite is just okay in run defense. Sometimes, he flashes well, but other times, he seems uninterested and does not appear to go all out. Some team sources say that they put in his report that he doesn’t always want to play against the run. That meshes with the personality and work ethic he displayed throughout the pre-draft process.

The pre-draft process was an utter disaster for Polite. was first to report that teams had significant off-the-field and makeup concerns about Polite, with some teams being close to drop him off their boards entering the combine. Then at the NFL Scouting Combine, Polite bombed in the team meetings before taking himself out of the workout.

Polite then had an ugly pro day. Here is what one team source said about Polite at the Gators’ pro day, “Sluggish and heavy, running a 5.02 40, and tweaked his right hamstring. Lazy not to finish in the DE/LB drills too and wasn’t starring. It’s who he is, and the slide continues.” After his colossal failure in the pre-draft process, Polite was fortunate to be selected in the third round, making the first or second round seem like a tragic lost opportunity.

Multiple sources had significant maturity and accountability concerns with Polite. They heard that Polite quit on the Jim McElwain coaching staff during the 2017 season and was recruiting other players to join him on quitting on the team. Team staffers were also concerned that Polite could have issues avoiding suspensions in the NFL because of off-the-field habits. Polite didn’t help himself with poor combine interviews and gave teams concerns about his football I.Q in the interviews. Some sources with the Gators said Polite was liked and was a good teammate, but his terrible interviews with NFL teams in response to character concerns is weighed heavily on his draft stock.

Now that the draft process is behind him, Polite can get back to focusing on football. While he could have some bumps along the way, I think Polite could end up becoming a solid starter for the Jets and provide some serious rush off the edge.

2018: Nathan Shepard, DT
2017: Jamal Adams, S
2016: Darron Lee, LB
2015: Devin Smith, WR
2014: Calvin Pryor, S
2013: Dee Milliner, CB

Most Likely To Bust

Chuma Edoga, OT, USC – Round 3
The Jets needed some better offensive line players and competition, but they had to settle at the position due to the big drop off in blocking talent after the second round. Edoga started at right tackle for USC over the past two years, but he never really played up to his potential in college. At the Senior Bowl, he did better than expected at times and had some lowlights in others. During his final season with the Trojans, Edoga dealt with knee and hip injuries. The 6-foot-3, 308-pounder might be better off moving inside to guard in the NFL.

Third-round picks are viewed by NFL teams as players who are “backups to starter,” and I think Edoga is the most likely candidate of the Jets’ early-round picks to fall short of that. Thus, I see him as their pick who is most likely to bust.

2018: Chris Herndon, TE
2017: Chad Hanson, WR
2016: Jordan Jenkins, LB
2015: Bryce Petty, QB
2014: Dexter McDougle, CB
2013: Geno Smith, QB

Potential Boom Pick

Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama – Round 1
The Jets were fortunate to land the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft with the third-overall pick. was the first in the media to report and project that Williams could be a high first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Sources from multiple teams, including two general managers, were raving about Williams to me before the other media caught on to him. After his impressive start to the season, Williams was even better in conference play. He was superb in games against Missouri, Mississippi State and Auburn before utterly dominating LSU. Williams used devastating speed, power and technique to beat the interior of LSU’s line at will. He beat double teams from the guard and center for sacks, plus stuffed runs at the point of attack. For the day, Williams totaled 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for a loss and 10 tackles. His outing against LSU was one of the most impressive performances I have seen by a defensive lineman in years. It was probably the best since Myles Garrett (2015) or Jadeveon Clowney (2012) during their amazing sophomore seasons. In 2018, Williams totaled 71 tackles with 19.5 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one pass batted. He caused even more disruption than the numbers indicate, including routinely wrecking offensive game plans.

For the NFL, Williams is a rare prospect with his interior pass-rush ability. He could be one of those rare NFL defensive tackles who is capable of generating multiple seasons of double-digit sacks. Williams is extremely fast off the snap, possessing the ability to fire his gap and close on the quarterback in a hurry. Williams can use pure speed to fly by blockers and win with a speed rush. He also has functional strength to bull rush through blockers, or grab them and toss them aside. On top of his great skill set, Williams shows impressive technique with his hand placement and has variety in pass-rushing moves with speed rushes, bull rushes, swim moves, and more. He has a devastating rip move that he uses to get leverage on blockers and knock them off balance. Quickly, Williams gets blockers off balance or sheds the block completely to charge past them down the pocket to get to the quarterback. Williams has a powerful bull rush as well, and there have been plays on which he puts his blockers on roller-skates, pushing them straight back into the quarterback.

With his sawed-off body, Williams has natural pad level and leverage that make him very difficult to block in combination with his size and speed. In the second half of the season, Williams showed the ability to beat double teams and still get pressure on the quarterback. His interior pass-rushing skills are off the charts, and in conjunction with his run defense, he often takes games over and wrecks the offensive game plan. There also is a mental edge that Williams provides his defense with via his dominance at the point of attack, which forces offenses to focus on him, freeing up other defenders are set up to make some big plays. Williams is a very unique and rare prospect for the NFL in that regard.

In the ground game, Williams is a quality defender. He holds his ground well with a good lateral anchor that also shows he can absorb double teams. Williams is able to hold his gap and not get pushed back in runs coming straight at him. With his strength and quickness, Williams also tosses blockers aside to cause tackles for a loss. Williams is a well-balanced player with his ability to defend the run and rush the passer.

Multiple team scouts gave a thumbs up to me on Williams off the field. They said there were no known off-the-field problems with him. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Williams put his great skill set on display with a workout that was similar to Aaron Donald in 2014. Williams (6-3, 303) was slightly slower than Donald, but Williams is 20 pounds heavier, so he is just as much of a freaky athlete.

In speaking with NFL sources during the fall, Williams graded out higher than defensive tackles like Houston’s Ed Oliver, Auburn’s Derrick Brown, Alabama teammate Raekwon Davis, Mississippi State’s Jeff Simmons and either member of the Clemson duo of Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence. No one from that groups has tape as impressive as what Williams did this season.

For the NFL, Williams looks like he could be a franchise defensive player. He has the potential to be one of the best interior pass-rushers in the league. The scary thing with Williams is he is just scratching the surface of his ability. He dominated in 2018, his first year of significant playing time. He could be better once he has more experience and gets more reps to refine his play. The idea of Williams being even better than what he showed in 2018 is mind blowing, and if that happens, he could end up being a legendary player and a massive boom pick for the Jets.

2018: Sam Darnold, QB
2017: Marcus Maye, S
2016: Christian Hackenberg, QB
2015: Leonard Williams, DE
2014: Jace Amaro, TE
2013: Sheldon Richardson, DT

Future Depth Player

Blessuan Austin, CB, Rutgers – Round 6
Prior to getting injured, Austin had some NFL scouts talking about him as having early-round potential in the 2019 NFL Draft. A injury knocked him off the field, but he has the skill set to play in the NFL when healthy. The Jets had a need at cornerback entering the draft, and Austin was the only corner they selected, so he has a good shot at making their roster as a backup. Durability may prevent Austin from becoming an every-down starter, but he could be a good backup for New York.

2018: Parry Nickerson, CB
2017: Jordan Leggett, TE
2016: Charone Peak, WR
2015: Jarvis Harrison, G
2014: Tajh Boyd, QB
2013: Brian Winters, G

Walt’s 2019 NFL Draft Grades:

3. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama B- Grade
Quinnen Williams is arguably the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft, so I won’t grade this poorly. However, it’s an odd selection in that the defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, wanted someone else. Williams saw Ed Oliver as the player he desired on his defensive line, so why did the Jets pick another defensive prospect? That doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s also disappointing that the Jets couldn’t trade down. Still, the Jets are getting a terrific talent, so I won’t go below a B- for this grade.

68. Jachai Polite, DE/OLB, Florida B Grade
This pick has immense upside because Jachai Polite has great talent. He has put together some strong tape at times, but he doesn’t always try hard. He was out of shape at the combine, which is why he wasn’t chosen in the first round. He comes with immense risk, but if the Jets can motivate him, they’ll get a great talent who fills a big need.

92. Chuma Edoga, OT, USC C Grade
I’m not sure about these prospects the Jets have obtained on Day 2. They started with Jachai Polite, who has motivational issues. Now, they add Chuma Edoga, who is even worse in that regard! Based on talent alone, Edoga would be a second-round prospect. The problem is that he’s highly unmotivated, and he even left the team at one point. The Jets will need to really motivate him, or they’ll have a complete bust with this pick. Still, the upside is there.

121. Trevon Wesco, TE, West Virginia B Grade
Trevon Wesco is a versatile player who can be used at tight end, H-back and fullback. He makes sense in this range, as I had him pegged as a Round 4-5 player. He doesn’t fill a big need, but he can be used as a decent mismatch weapon.

157. Blake Cashman, LB, Minnesota A Grade
This is another terrific linebacker pick. We’ll see what happens with Darron Lee in the future, and I could envision Blake Cashman eventually starting for the Jets. He’s small (6-1, 237) and doesn’t have much experience, but his instincts and athleticism are at a high level. He has great potential and probably should’ve been chosen a whole round earlier.

196. Blessuan Austin, CB, Rutgers B+ Grade
Blessuan Austin is the sort of cornerback the Seahawks typically like, and he would’ve been chosen much earlier than this if it weren’t for health concerns. He has torn the same knee twice in the past two seasons, so it’s unknown if he’ll be able to play very much. He’s worth the risk here, but there’s a chance he may never take the field.

2019 NFL Draft Team Grade: C+ . Follow Walter @walterfootball for updates.

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