SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 11: Ja'Lynn Polk #2 of the Washington Huskies in action during the fourth quarter against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on November 11, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. The Washington Huskies won 35-28. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 11: Ja'Lynn Polk #2 of the Washington Huskies in action during the fourth quarter against the Utah Utes at Husky Stadium on November 11, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. The Washington Huskies won 35-28. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Ja’Lynn Polk First Round Grade

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ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 29: Andre Rison #80 of the Atlanta Falcons runs with the ball against the New Orleans Saints during an NFL Football game September 29, 1991 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Rison played for the Falcons from 1990-94. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Washington Huskies wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk has made a believer out of me.

It’s also the second straight season of game film that I’ve liked Polk. There’s just something about him. He has this explosive big play look and feel.

Did I mention he catches almost everything thrown in his direction?

The name “Andre Rison” went through my mind while evaluating Polk on 2023 film. Polk is slightly bigger than Rison who played at 6-foot-1, 188 pounds, but that’s Polk’s demeanor.

Rison played for seven NFL teams (mainly known for his time with the Falcons) and currently ranks No. 52 all-time finishing his 13-year career with 743 receptions for 10,205 receiving yards and 84 touchdowns.

There’s a lot to like with Polk

Polk is physical releasing from the line of scrimmage and he runs after catching the ball like he means it, which makes him a nice target on short passes.

Make no mistake, however, Polk earns his living downfield.

Polk is an Olympian-like long strider who explodes out of the starting blocks. He gets going with sportscar acceleration and levels out showing he has what it takes to blow right past a cornerback and get underneath a deep rainbow shot for six.

While overshadowed by fellow wide receiver Rome Odunze, Polk proved he can hold his own.

Watching Polk on game film is like watching an NBA basketball player drive toward the hoop for a dunk. He’s got an aggressive and commanding presence. He attacks the ball when it’s coming his way and tends to draw pass interference calls as well when mixing it up with cornerbacks. Polk is excellent at making contested passes against super-tight coverage.

Polk is Strong

LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 01: Washington Huskies wide receiver Ja’Lynn Polk (2) celebrates a 1st down during the PAC-12 Football Championship Game between the Oregon Ducks and the Washington Huskies on December 01, 2023, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This is a trait that needs to stand alone.

Polk is a beacon of strength in every aspect.

He gets into cornerbacks with strength. Polk is not the easiest to bring down.

His muscular and athletic frame is well put together.

His personality is strong too.

Polk can get emotional ⎯and fired up. He’s a strong presence.

This Washington receiver has long-toned arms and strong hands which brings us to the next point.

Catch rate

Here is a look at Polk’s college career:

2020 (Texas Tech): 28 receptions on 38 targets (74%)

2021 (Washington): 5 receptions on 7 targets (71%)

2022 (Washington): 41 receptions on 68 targets (60%)

2023 (Washington): 69 receptions on 101 targets (68%)

Any negatives?

There was a slight tendency (Oregon) that he looked slower going across the middle and he didn’t get to the catch point fast enough. That only showed up a couple more times in the other seven games evaluated in 2023.

The other negative is he has a good (not great) catch radius.

#2 Ja’Lynn Polk 6-foot-2, 204 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s 2024 NFL Draft Grade: First-Round (I would select him)

Projected by 8.3% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of January 28, 2024 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

Ja’Lynn Polk Catches Most Everything (6 games evaluated in 2022)

2023 game film reviewed: Oregon, USC, Utah, Boise State, Arizona, Tulsa, Washington State, and ASU (click to view games watched to form this evaluation)

2023 stats: 69 receptions for 1,159 yards (16.8 avg.), 9 TD, long of 92

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Nice-sized target who excels at all three route levels (short, intermediate, and deep). Dominant. Often competitive. No. 1 receiver out wide or can slip into the slot. Can motion pre-snap and take an end around (Tulsa TD). Methodical release, but achieves route leverage due to physicality. Slight periodic laziness running routes. Capable of cat-like quick change of direction. Excellent vision and concentration shown looking the ball into his hands in heavy traffic areas. Attacks football with his hands. Fights for the ball. Good natural reach. Excels at slants, working along the sidelines. Good ball tracking deep. Gets into blocking.

Final words

Polk moves the meter.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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