by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of 247Sports.
The NFL Draft talk never ends and we here at Draft 412 will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024 we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight -Washington, Wide Receiver, Ja’Lynn Polk
Name- Ja’Lynn Polk
HT/WT- 6’2” 204 lbs.
Home – Lufkin, TX
Ja’Lynn Polk had one of the most decorated seasons by a wide receiver at Lufkin High School. This is even more impressive when you realize that Dez Bryant and Keke Coutee also attended Lufkin. He finished his career ranked 2nd all-time in school history in both receptions (131) and receiving yards (2,412). Rivals ranked Polk as the No. 67 wide receiver in the country. During his senior season, he committed to Texas Tech University.
Polk was productive in his true freshman year at Texas Tech, hauling in 28 passes for 264 yards and 2 touchdowns. He started 7 games and played in 10 total for the Red Raiders. He entered the transfer portal after the season and enrolled at the University of Washington in the spring of 2021. He was immediately eligible and had 5 years to play 4 seasons at Washington.
In his first season at Washington, due to injury, he only played in 3 games, starting 2. He finished the season with 5 catches for 114 yards and 1 touchdown for the Huskies.
Last season, Polk started to show what he can bring to the Huskies offense. He started 8 games and played in 13 games total and was third on the team in receptions with 41 and receiving yards with 694. He added 6 touchdowns for the high powered Washington offense, which is getting national attention as one of the best offenses in the country.
This season, Polk has taken full advantage of lining up across from Rome Odunze. He has already set career highs in all receiving categories and we are only 9 games into the season. He has 51 receptions for 888 yards and 8 touchdowns, making him and future first round pick Odunze arguably the best receiver combination in the country.
Ja’Lynn Polk runs pinpoint routes which leads to separation on quick slants and out patterns. He has an effective way of changing speeds at different parts of his routes and his stop and go ability makes him hard to mirror. He is used as a quick target more times than not and has the ability to switch from receiver to running back as soon as he makes a catch. He has exceptional vision and does a good job of making defenders miss. His versatility will help his draft stock, as he can line up in the slot or be a deep threat on the outside and does both efficiently. He has enough pure speed to stretch the seams of the defense and is an effective playmaker at all three levels on the field.
Some negatives on Polk start with his inability to know when to sit down in the middle of a zone to make himself a viable target. This is something that he will need to work on, especially if he is a slot receiver at the next level, trying to find open space on quick slants and out patterns. For a larger receiver, he struggles against the press and spends too much time trying to get off the line. Though he has good vision, he struggles to break tackles and does not use his size to power through defenders. Polk does not come up with the 50/50 balls as often as you normally expect from a 6’2” receiver. As of right now, he does not add a lot to run blocking and will need to add this to his resume to help out his game going forward.
Donovan Peoples-Jones is a player who came to mind when watching film of Ja’Lynn Polk. Peoples-Jones was a 6th round pick out of Michigan in 2020 and was a versatile receiver during his years in Ann Arbor. A precise route runner who can beat you deep from time to time, Polk fits this mold. Polk has a lot more upside and with Michael Penix throwing him the ball, the numbers he can put up are unlimited.
Receiver to running back
Tough to mirror
Ja’Lynn Polk has been taking full advantage of Washington’s high powered offense and has put himself in that 2nd to 3rd round receiver group. His versatility can put him in the early day 2 group. The combine will be huge for a prospect like Polk.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 2nd or 3rd round