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Despite a difficult pre-draft process Malcolm Smith Jersey , Scott Geelan still thinks the 49ers should be taking a long, hard look at EDGE rusher Jachai Polite"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections 49ers Salary CapLevi’s Stadium Events49ers Transactions49ers Injury News49ers Press Conferences & Conference CallsNFL Draft2019 NFL Draft: 49ers picks, mock drafts, news, rumors, analysisMaking the case for Jachai PoliteNew,124commentsDespite a difficult pre-draft process, Scott Geelan still thinks the 49ers should be taking a long, hard look at EDGE rusher Jachai PolitePDTShareTweetShareShareMaking the case for Jachai PoliteBryan Lynn-USA TODAY SportsAs late as the morning of March 2nd, the day after the EDGE rusher measurements were taken at the Combine and before they tested, Jachai Polite was nearing first round pick lock status. If you watched any of the Florida Gators this season, it was hard to miss the dreadlocked speed demon flying off the edge. If you actively went looking for his film or his highlights, you were never disappointed. On the field, Polite was a stud.Off the field has been another story. Whilst his weigh in at the Combine seemed positive, it became clear once he started testing that Polite had added bad weight. Whether that directly caused his poor Combine & Pro Day testing or indirectly caused it by being a contributory factor towards him damaging his hamstring is largely unimportant. The addition of bad weight at a time when Polite needed to be in the shape of his life was justifiably the cause of criticism.Furthermore, he didn’t acquit himself particularly well in front of the media at the Combine (though not as badly as some made out), nor reportedly in team meetings. He did somewhat better in front of the media at Florida’s Pro Day in, demonstrating accountability, understanding and growth in this area at least.Polite’s weight gain, poor testing & disappointing interview performances seem to have confirmed the concerns of many that he might struggle to add good weight to enable him to play full time in the NFL and that he didn’t have the maturity or work ethic to succeed as a pro. As a result, he’s fallen from a likely first round pick to someone who could be available entering day three of the Draft.The true facts behind Polite’s poor showing in the draft process are probably significantly more complex than the suggestions he cannot add good weight and that he’s immature/has poor work ethic. This is the time that I’d love to say having spoken with Jachai or his team, the reason he has gained weight was X and/or Y. But without having been able to do that, one can only speculate and attempt to read between the lines from things that he has said. He has certainly mentioned that he was overawed by the draft process. This can be expected somewhat, he only turned 21 on March 30th. Clearly, there have been many players of Polite’s age who have acquitted themselves far better during the biggest and longest job interview of their lives, but it is unrealistic and arguably unfair to expect 20-21 year olds to all perform well during this process. Most people have screwed up interviews in their lives, especially if the interviewers started attacking them. To do so doesn’t actually make them immature or a poor candidate - to think this way continues the unfortunate and unfair trend of expecting standards of sportspeople that are simply not expected of the rest of us. We must therefore try not to be influenced too heavily by his reported performances in front of teams as well as his comments in the media.This overawed feeling during the draft process did not just extend to struggling to take criticism during team interviews and being damagingly candid about his frustration with those interviews in front of the media. It also seems like he or his advisors were affected by outside noise: First to add extra weight at this stage in his transition to the NFL to get ‘bigger & stronger’; then to go out and run at the Pro Day when he was clearly still injured, perhaps to try and demonstrate his widely questioned work ethic. These are decisions that with hindsight can certainly be criticised.To view the NFL Draft process in the context of one long interview is very important. In fact, the interview has essentially been dragged out over much of the players’ football playing life. Understandably Kentavius Street Jersey White , importance does have to be given, within reason, to the most recent information available on a player. Nevertheless, one certainly hopes that decision makers and fans alike can also look at a broader body of evidence than merely the four months of work that are decidedly not actual football after a player’s college career has ended. For Polite, those four months do not seem to have gone especially well. This was, however, in stark contrast to the four months that preceded them.The FilmOn the evidence of film alone, Polite is comfortably a top 5 EDGE player in this class. His combination of an elite get-off, bend, rapid cadence, explosive change of direction ability, a variety of pass rush moves and an understanding of his own game (regardless of whether he says he watches film of himself) made him the player I thought has the best chance to be the best pass rusher from this EDGE class. Polite received a pass rush grade of 91.0 from PFF this past season, had a pass rush productivity of 20 and recorded 40 total pressures on 250 rushes. Polite’s spin move is the best spin move in the class and one of the best we’ve seen come out in the draft in some time. It perfectly complements the threat he carries to the outside, which NFL tackles will have to respect in much the same way as their college counterparts.Not only can he win with speed, but he does have a long arm and bull rush in his locker. With NFL coaching these can certainly develop further.The fluidity of his movement skills ensure he’s a real danger for offensive tackles, ensuring he can be unpredictable with his approach such that tackles can never really set up for him. If he can improve his speed-power, this ability to subtly change direction as he moves will see even more tackles whiffing on him as they set for his power rush before getting hit by speed, or vice versa.He’s also a turnover machine, recording a forced fumble on over half his sacks in 2018 (6 forced fumbles on 11 sacks). For a team like the 49ers, who struggled to turn the ball over, a player who understands the importance of turning the ball over and actively targets it can make a real impression.His ability to stay in plays is also impressive.There is no doubt Polite is an inferior run defender than he is pass rusher. He can certainly be engulfed by larger tackles. But the hustle he shows as a pass rusher shows up as a run defender as well, and he certainly gets disrespected more as a run defender than he deserves.His athleticism also, unsurprisingly, comes in handy.The FitHow exactly should the 49ers reconcile his rough pre-draft process with his superb on field ability?Before the Combine, I truly believed Polite could justifiably be the 49ers pick at number two. Now however, the risk is simply too great based on what we have seen and know. To me, his range starts in the later first round, primarily amongst teams who are closer to success and able to take more of a risk on a prospect with immense upside. Finding a high quality EDGE rusher after the first half of the first round is generally nigh on impossible - there’s a reason the 49ers and the Chiefs have been willing to part with late first round, or early second round picks for two high calibre EDGE rushers with Pro Bowl or All-Pro ability. Polite has the talent to make an impact similar to those two players. The 49ers’ coaches Womens Marquise Goodwin Jersey , front office and fans are not a group that needs reminding what a lack of quality or depth at EDGE rusher does to a team’s chances of being elite.Beyond the attraction of playing the odds (the same way teams should do for quarterbacks, the upside of hitting on an EDGE is so high it’s worth the gamble), the 49ers themselves are in something of a unique team building situation, making this approach more attractive. When healthy, they appear to be closer to success than their 2018 record suggests. They have their quarterback and several other high calibre players at important positions. They could and arguably should take a gamble on a high upside EDGE rusher, especially with their second round pick and even more certainly with their third round pick of Polite was still on the board at that stage. This is despite them already have Dee Ford, who is excellent but has had injury issues, and probably being in position to draft Nick Bosa. A three headed monster of Polite, Bosa & Ford could be incredibly dangerous and comparatively cheap.Whether or not the 49ers did pick Nick Bosa, the team also wouldn’t be reliant on Polite starting straight away - he could spend his first season as a specialist EDGE rusher - his best role early on. If the team did draft Bosa, he would likely be the first man to spell Bosa & Ford off the bench. Furthermore, whilst his weight gain may well have cost him money because of his poor testing and the effort/attitude questions created, it has given him a four month head start on the process that he would presumably have had to undergo after being drafted. This is significant and suggests he could be further along the process of adjusting to his NFL physique. That in itself is attractive.Over time, Polite could develop into a full time starter in the 49ers’ scheme, especially with the likely addition of further wide 9 elements as well as the continued use of the fronts the team used against the likes of the Rams with two stand up outside linebackers on the line of scrimmage. Perhaps in two years time, the team would feel comfortable moving on from Ford and keeping Bosa & Polite as their two primary EDGE players. Given the other options likely available at number two overall, Bosa or Quinnen Williams, the risk is certainly too great to take Polite at number two. However, the 49ers should seriously consider Polite if he’s on the board any time they pick after the late first round. Given the already unpredictable nature of the draft, the nature of Polite’s fit in San Francisco and his sensational upside, the risk at those points seems justified. We have already seen the 49ers gamble on elite upside on a falling player, Reuben Foster, and he seemingly had more significant red flags than Polite. Whilst their experiences with Foster could spook the team, it is also indicative of an organisation that is cognisant of the wildly unpredictable nature of the draft itself, the need to stock up on talent at crucial positions within their scheme as well as one that is willing to bet on high calibre film translating to the NFL.Furthermore, you get the sense a reunion with Bosa (if he is the 49ers pick at 2) might well be of interest…Golden Nuggets: Home Opener Against Detroit Lions Good morning folks, the second game of the 49ers season is upon us! The team has their home opener against the Lions in the early afternoon, after a pretty ugly loss in Minnesota to open the year. While the Vikings were likely the toughest game on the schedule for the year, the 49ers have the luxury of pressing the reset button early , against a Lions team that should be easier to handle in every distinguishable phase.After a forgettable week that was marred by mental mistakes which ultimately cost the team their competitiveness, it’ll be extremely interesting to see if they’ll be able to correct those mistakes and play a cleaner game. Obviously there are no guarantees in any game, but it’s a fairly grounded expectation for the 49ers to be competitive this week if issues like the turnovers and penalties that plagued them the last time out can be minimized.There are a few spots to really keep an eye on today. The safety corps, which was expected to be a relative strength this season, may have some bumps in the road against the Lions. FS Adrian Colbert is still listed as questionable while he’s been limited through nursing a hamstring injury, and if he’s unable to go, there will likely be a fairly significant drop-off, even if Jimmie Ward gets the start. Compounding matters is the surprisingly slow start that Jaquiski Tartt has had - despite a strong finish to the 2017, he spent much of the Vikings game looking slow and out-of-place.Speed threat Marquise Goodwin will spend the day on the bench as he recuperates from a thigh injury he sustained in last week’s game. Filling in for him will be rookie Dante Pettis, who had a rather promising debut, despite the ups-and-downs expected of a rookie. The perimeter defenders he’ll face this week should give him less trouble than the star-studded secondary that Minnesota has, but I doubt that he finds himself relied upon as a chain-moving option - George Kittle, and especially Pierre Garcon should have that role covered. I don’t believe that Pettis will see an unusually heavy load of targets, but I’d expect his usage to come primarily in chunk & splash plays.The offensive line will, again, be point to watch. After losing both starting options at RG and finishing the first week by shuffling rookie RT Mike McGlinchey inside, the team has elected to call up undrafted rookie Najee Toran from the practice squad, and it looks like he’ll be getting the reps with the starting offense. Mike Person, and to a lesser extent, Joshua Garnett, are still considered questionable, so there’s an outside chance that one or the other will be able to perform come game-time, but I wouldn’t count on it. There will be some clarification to this once the inactive list is released later today.The game begins at 1:05 PST. 18-1 is still in play, folks! Go Niners!Film review: Week 1 defensive mistakes | Crocker, 4th & 9Players to watch against the Lions | Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area49ers to consider for Fantasy Football purposes | Madson, NinerswireGeorge Kittle is putting himself on the map | Biderman, Sac Bee