Florida edge-rusher and 2019 NFL draft prospect Jachai Polite told reporters at the Gators' pro day Wednesday that he "wasn't ready mentally" for a tough NFL Scouting Combine in which he received much negative press for his reported efforts. Per Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com:
"It's been pretty tough, but it's a major learning experience for me, something I've never been through in my life. I just keep learning every day. Nobody in my family has been through anything like this, so I had nobody to help me, really, other than my agent. But I never knew how serious and how mentally tough you had to be for this moment.
"...At the end of the day they are trying to pay you to play for their team, so I get why they did everything they did. It wasn't really that bad, I just took it the wrong way and was frustrated and stuff.
"I just wasn't ready at all. I just wasn't ready mentally."
The news that emerged from Polite's combine work was decidedly negative.
Matt Miller of Bleacher Report said he received five texts from scouts about Polite's poor interviews, and the edge-rusher told reporters at the combine that the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers were "bashing" him in meetings.
DiRocco also noted Polite ran a 4.8-second 40-yard dash at his pro day—a number that matched his disappointing showing at the combine.
The pre-draft results are undoubtedly disappointing, and Miller said Polite's stock is "taking a massive tumble."
But edge-rushers are arguably the most valuable defensive position in a pass-happy NFL. A team could still look at his production as a junior and take a chance on the Gator who turns 21 on March 30.
Polite dominated in 2018, amassing 11.0 sacks, 19.5 tackles for a loss and 45 total tackles. He also led the NCAA with six forced fumbles.
However, the 2019 draft is filled with dominant players at his position—Josh Allen of Kentucky and Nick Bosa of Ohio State among them. Polite could fall down the board because other teams prefer the many other talents, which only exacerbates his post-combine problems.
We'll find out where he lands when the NFL draft kicks off Thursday, April 25.