Ja'Lynn Polk - WR - Washington

Ja’Lynn Polk, like the other Washington wide receivers, had to wait until 2022 for Washington to overhaul their football program to start his break out. The addition of Kalen DeBoer and Michael Penix Jr. did wonders to allow Washington’s passing attack to flourish and to take advantage of Polk’s talent along with Jalen McMillan and Rome Odunze.

Measurables

Height: 6′ 1″

Weight: 203 lbs

Age: 22

40-yard dash: 4.52s

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: DNP

Vertical Jump: DNP

Broad Jump: 10’9″

Bench Press: DNP

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceivingRushingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGRecYdsAvgTDAttYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
2020Texas TechBig 12FRWR10282649.42000282649.42
2021WashingtonPac-12FRWR3511422.81000511422.81
*2022WashingtonPac-12FRWR134169416.9611515.004270916.96
*2023WashingtonPac-12SOWR1569115916.894328.0173119116.310
CareerOverall143223115.6185479.41148227815.419
Texas Tech282649.42000282649.42
Washington115196717.1165479.41120201416.817
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 5/27/2024.

Notable Headlines

Polk came out of high school as a high three-star prospect, committing to Texas Tech. At Texas Tech, Polk played sparingly across 10 games, accruing 264 yards and 2 touchdowns. He transferred to Washington the following year where he only appeared in 3 games due to a shoulder fracture, just barely going over 100 yards. 

But in 2022, Washington brought in new head coach Kalen DeBoer and along with him new quarterback Michael Penix Jr. This revitalized the offense and allowed Polk to accrue 700 total yards from scrimmage and 6 touchdowns despite playing as the WR3 in the Huskies’ offense. Then last season, the WR2 for Washington, Jalen McMillan, missed some time and played hurt for a large portion of the season which allowed Polk to shine as the WR2 behind Rome Odunze. Polk hit his first 1,000-yard season and racked up 10 total touchdowns. He declared for the NFL Draft as a redshirt junior.

Scouting Report

Positives

There’s a lot to like about Ja’Lynn Polk’s game, namely his ball skills. He tracks the ball well on deep balls over his shoulder and consistently catches with strong hands. He has great body control with an ability to extend well outside his frame, building a formidable contested catch threat. This also lends Polk to being a very effective redzone target. After the catch, he flashed an ability to make plays but wasn’t always consistent in that area.

Polk showed good versatility, being able to line up all over the formation and even adding in a handful of rushing plays each season in college. As a route runner, he separates well and has a good understanding of leverage. He does well to work over the top of the defensive backs in man coverage.

Negatives

Polk had the advantage of playing for a great offensive mind in Kalen DeBoer who worked wonders to get Polk schemed open and allow him to line up in the formation to get free releases off the line. That is great, but also shows a bit of a limiting factor to Polk’s game as his release could use some work. Additionally, there are areas for improvement in his route running as he isn’t overly explosive within his routes or after the catch consistently. 

Off the field, Polk is an older prospect who played four years in college and is already 22. Additionally, when he did play while McMillan and Odunze were both healthy, he was consistently the WR3 in the Washington offense. That’s not necessarily a knock on his game but it is something to keep in mind as Polk is projected forward.

Post Draft Analysis

New England Patriots – Round 2, Pick 37

Landing Spot

There is a barren wasteland that makes up the New England Patriots’ wide receiver room. The only player there that projects with some intrigue is DeMario Douglas who was a 6th-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and was able to lead the team with just over 500 yards in a very inept offense last season. Otherwise, the Patriots have Kendrick Bourne, KJ Osborn, and JuJu Smith-Schuster who are all just guys at this point in their careers and at best depth wide receivers. The team needed a shot of life into this core as they didn’t make any big free-agent moves or trades this offseason.

The Patriots have selected Ja’Lynn Polk in the second round and Javon Baker in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Both will have ample opportunity to crack the starting lineup right away and earn significant targets. The Patriots are praying Polk or Baker can provide their first 1,000-yard receiver in 5 years – since Julian Edelman in 2019.

Fantasy Impact

Ja’Lynn Polk lands in a position to compete for targets right away and become the top receiver in the offense by mid-season. He is tied to a rookie quarterback who will go through some growing pains, so that could cap his immediate ceiling. But the opportunity is there for the taking for a very talented wide receiver. But Javon Baker, a fellow rookie, is also very talented in his own right despite falling to the fourth round. Everyone will know right away this year if Polk has what it takes to be a top receiver in the NFL and fantasy as there is nothing in his way from commanding targets early and often.

In Redraft, Polk could be a fun late-round dart throw as there is a chance he turns into the top target earner in this offense by mid-season. But what does the top target earner in this offense look like as they bring in a new staff, a new quarterback, and the last 1,000-yard receiver was in 2019? In Dynasty formats, Polk is going towards the end of the second round which is a steal for a Day 2 wide receiver with his talent and opportunity. He may not have the ceiling of Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, or Rome Odunze but he can be a legitimate WR2 for fantasy teams.

As always, if you want something more specific to your league- reach out! You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.