At the University of Florida Pro Day, some things that were already established, cemented themselves. Pass-rusher Jachai Polite continued to underwhelm while right tackle Jawaan Taylor proved himself as one of the premier tackles in the draft.
Polite’s stock slipping
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new, aggressive, blitz-loving coach and defensive coordinator. Head coach and defensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles have not been shy about it since taking over.
Jachai Polite had established himself as a late day one or early day two draft pick with his production throughout the season in the SEC. However, after a less than impressive combine coupled with a Pro Day that was nearly as bad, Polite’s stock has never been lower.
Tampa Bay could do what many Wall Street investors do. The stock for Polite has plummeted in the draft evaluations, but Polite clearly has the talent. He has looked incredible on tape for the past few seasons. He also played a key role for an elite defense last season.
If Polite is available for Tampa Bay in the third or fourth round, he should be taken. No other player with a resumé of 19.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks will be available then. Polite also played as a stand up pass rusher in a 3-4 defense, which would show production in a similar system to Bowles’ defense under Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
Offensive line could get much needed boost
Jawaan Taylor has impressed throughout the draft process. He should be considered the top tackle in a deep draft class at the position. He impressed at the combine, and continued that trend at the University of Florida Pro Day.
Taylor only performed on the bench press at the combine. He was able to produce 24 repetitions in his workout. He did not do any other drills, but he had great measurables.
Taylor is 6’5″ and 312 pounds with 10-inch hands. He also has 35 and 1/8-inch arms. In addition to his size, Taylor has been compared to Washington Redskins’ tackle Trent Williams by CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson.
Tampa Bay has an aging right tackle in Demar Dotson. Dotson is 33, and will turn 34 this October. Tampa Bay was not a great team at protecting their quarterback, so Taylor would be a logical pick for the Buccaneers if the team decides to trade back to picks 11-20.
Safety net for Tampa Bay
Another player that would help the Buccaneers is defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Gardner-Johnson was the quarterback of the Florida defense. He was in charge of making adjustments for the team, and was the heartbeat of the secondary.
He would fill a vocal leadership void left by defensive captain Kwon Alexander, who departed for San Francisco in free agency.
Gardner-Johnson was seen in many games calling out adjustments and picking up missed assignments by the Gator defense.
He profiles as a day two pick and a center-fielder/ballhawking free safety, another need for Tampa Bay. The team has third year safety Justin Evans, but he has not been able to stay healthy and has looked lost in coverage at times. Gardner-Johnson would fill a much needed void.
Other Players from University of Florida
Other notable players that worked out at the Pro Day were running back Jordan Scarlett, defensive linemen CeCe Jefferson and Khairi Clark, offensive linemen Martez Ivey, Fred Johnson, Tyler Jordan, Nick Villano and Kavaris Harkless. There was also long snapper Ryan Farr, linebacker Vosean Joseph, wide receiver Dre Massey and tight ends C’yontai Lewis, R.J. Raymond and Moral Stephens.