Packers notes: Green Bay part of ‘bashing crew’ for Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite

Jim Owczarski
Packers News
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INDIANAPOLIS – The verb Jachai Polite chose to describe the critiques of NFL teams during his interviews at the NFL scouting combine — including the Green Bay Packers contingent in their formal interview with the pass rusher — might seem harsh. But the Florida product couldn’t help but be honest when he met with the national media Saturday and said that in many of his 19 formal interviews, “A lot of teams have been bashing me.

“I don’t think they’re talking about me coming to their program or anything like that. They just want to know who I am.”

Polite, who recorded 11 sacks and six forced fumbles in his senior season in Gainesville, said most of those interviews most were not about his highlights. Instead, they were focused on poor plays or trying to dig into his character, to elicit a reaction from the 20-year-old.

29. Kansas City Chiefs - OLB Jachai Polite, Florida: The Chiefs will franchise Dee Ford, but if Polite’s available they could take him and groom him as Ford’s replacement.

“I feel like it’s all how I react, just acting like myself, my true character, not trying to be somebody else,” Polite said. “They want to know who they’re getting and then who they’re going to pay.”

He said in many of his interviews, teams aren’t pulling up highlights or asking about how he forced so many fumbles. Instead, he was asked about his character off the field and why he did or didn’t do certain things during plays on it.

As such, he understands it.

“That’s their job,” he said. “They’re trying to get my character out. They’re trying to make me feel uncomfortable. See the way I react. Them bashing me, that’s their job. They’re about to invest millions probably — I hope — in me. So I have to take it. That’s my job. This is my job.”

As for the Packers, who own the No. 12 and No. 30 picks in the first round in late Aprils’ draft, Polite didn’t mince words about his interview with them.

“They’re part of the bashing crew,” he said. “They didn’t really try to get to know me and see what type of dude I was.”

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Polite said the only team to date that focused on football was the Los Angeles Rams and he felt the Tennessee Titans went into the meeting with an open mind. Other than that? “A lot of people bashing me,” he said.

Polite was benched for the Gators’ season-opening series against Charleston Southern to start the season, but Polite did not miss any other games for disciplinary reasons in his three-year career. His official draft profile notes that “scouts are concerned about maturity and character.”

His sophomore year was cut short due to a shoulder injury. Polite’s weight has fluctuated wildly the last three years, as he graduated high school at 260 pounds, played defensive tackle his freshman year at 270 and then played last year at a listed 242 pounds.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Polite weighed in at 258 pounds at the combine. He was also officially listed at 6 feet, 2 5/8 inches.

“I feel I’m the most athletic (defensive end) in this draft, my bend, speed, first step, that’s it,” Polite said. “I feel like I’ve kind of mastered knowing my leverage. Most people are tall in this sport, that’s what they want, that’s ideal size – but you just gotta want it more. That’s how I feel.”

On Sunday, Polite reportedly pulled out of combine drills early because of a lingering hamstring injury.

Badgers, Scharping show athleticism

If an NFL team is going to ask Wisconsin offensive linemen David Edwards, Beau Benzschawel and Michael Deiter to run 40 yards in a straight line on Sundays, they might have some problems. But if you ask the trio to burst out of a stance, move laterally and pull — no doubt that can work well.

Edwards (5.28 seconds), Benzschawel (5.24) and Deiter (5.23) were among the 14 slowest linemen in the 40-yard dash at the combine, but Edwards (7.69) and Deiter (7.88) were in the top 25 of the three-cone drill. Benzschawel did not participate in that drill.

Green Bay native and Northern Illinois offensive lineman Max Scharping did not run the 40 due to an injured hamstring, but he posted a 7.77-second three-cone drill.

Notable performances

Testing continues through the weekend, but through Saturday there were some strong showings. Top tight end prospects T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant of Iowa lived up to the athletic hype, with Fant running a position-best 4.5-second 40-yard dash and Hockenson a 4.7, tied for seventh. Fant’s time was faster than all but eight running backs. … Mississippi receiver DK Metcalf put on a show, not just by showing off his body-builder physique and possessing an 82 and 78/ inch wingspan (rumored to be an unofficial combine record) but also by doing 27 reps on the bench press, running a 4.33-second 40 and posting an unofficial 40.5-inch vertical jump. ... Weber State offensive lineman Iosua Opeta had the most bench-press reps with 39.




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