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If not Odunze, could NY Jets target the other Washington WR?

Ja'Lynn Polk
Ja'Lynn Polk, Getty Images

Rome Odunze’s teammate is among the top post-first round WR targets for New York Jets

The New York Jets have a big decision to make in a week’s time. Yes, their free agency signings have allowed them to draft somewhat freely at pick 10, but that pick will still make a huge impact on what happens in their 2024 season.

It is becoming increasingly possible that the Jets stick at 10 and either draft an offensive lineman or trade down and draft an offensive lineman. This means pick 72 will become an important spot for the Jets to add a wide receiver. They can sit and wait there or potentially move up a few spots to grab a prospect they like.

Someone they should look at in that area is Washington’s Ja’Lynn Polk.

Ja’Lynn Polk profile

Combine:

  • 6′1
  • 203 pounds
  • 4.52 40-yard dash
  • 1.52 10-yard split
  • 37.5-inch vertical jump

2023 season:

  • 69 catches, 1,159 yards (15th in FBS), 9 TDs
  • 13/24 on contested catches (54.1%)
  • 4 drops on 108 targets

Ja’Lynn Polk is a good prospect for the Jets to target in the early third round, whether he falls to No. 72 or if the Jets have to trade up for him. Mock drafts have him going as early as the second round and as far back as the late third. If the Jets do take an OL at 10, they must make sure to hone in on a pass catcher with their next pick.

Polk produced 2.29 yards per route run in 2023, which ranked 47th out of 121 qualifying FBS WRs. He also averaged 5.2 YAC per reception, which ranked 72nd out of 121 qualifiers.

His numbers don’t tell us much without watching film, so that’s what I did!

Ja’Lynn Polk film

First up, Wash loved getting the ball to Polk in situations for YAC. Here on a little bubble screen, Polk shows great burst and vision to let his blocks set themselves up. He explodes up the sideline for an huge explosive. For a guy that ran a 4.52, his play speed certainly looks faster than that time.

Polk was also an extremely effective deep target for the Huskies. Here Polk is seeing press man coverage, but he uses a nice rocker step release to get past the DB’s press. He separates effortlessly, but the DB still gets to the catch point when Polk is hauling it in. Polk shows strong hands and very good tracking ability to finish the catch through contact for the touchdown.

YAC? Check. Deep threat? Check. Acrobatic catches? He does that too. Unbelievable job here on the deep post from Polk, who gets cracked as he is reaching back full extension to haul in the pass. This is a level of toughness you rarely see on CFB tape and a real impressive rep from Polk.

Polk is also extremely effective in contested catch situations. Although Polk does not get much separation on the slot fade, he easily adjusts to the ball, which is on his back shoulder, and soars for the reception. I wonder what the story on Polk would be if Rome Odunze was not on the same team. I feel he would easily be projecting as a first rounder.

Last clip to round out Polk’s skill set. This is a deep curl against man coverage. I feel Polk could be a bit more sudden in and out of his breaks, especially on this rep, but the DB is playing so far off that it does not matter. The little head nod he does to sell a go route is good but I just want him to sell it a little harder. He could also come back to the ball on this rep to be a little more QB friendly.

Nonetheless, he creates separation and finishes the catch which is what matters. In the NFL, if he wants to be a more consistent route runner, these are some little things that he will need to work on.

Overall, Polk is another great WR prospect in a loaded WR class. I could honestly see him sneaking into the first round. How the Jets get him is another question. One option could be to trade back and then use the extra assets to trade back up into the early second.

After watching the film, it is evident Polk will not be available at pick 72. It will be interesting to see what the Jets do as we are just a week away now, but in the event they take an OL in the first round, Polk is someone I would go after if possible.

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