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Factoid

Ja'Lynn Polk

Patriots take a second-round stab at Washington's receiving trio

I wasn’t crazy about the Patriots’ decision to select Ja’Lynn Polk early in the second round. Obviously, there’s something about him they like, but I’m not sure that he’s any better than his college teammate who went almost two rounds later.

The Bucs selected Jalen McMillan late in the third, but under different circumstances, I think he might have been selected before Polk.

Physically, they’re pretty similar. Polk at the combine measured 6-foot-1 and 203 pounds, with a 4.52 in the 40. McMillan at the combine was the same height, only 6 pounds lighter and 5 hundredths of a second faster. (Polk was a half inch better in the vertical and 2 inches better in the broad jump.)

McMillan was a lot more productive in 2022, catching 79 passes for 1,098 yards and 9 TDs (38 more catches for 404 more yards and 3 more touchdowns). And before injuring his knee in the third game this year, McMillian was again more productive, catching 16 passes for 215 yards and 3 TDs in the first two weeks (8 more catches for 33 more yards and 2 more touchdowns than Polk).

When McMillan got healthy late in the year, he was again more productive than Polk. He caught 20 passes for 222 yards and 2 TDs in the final three games of the season (the Pac-12 Championship, and the two national playoff games). Polk in those games caught 6 fewer passes, for 4 fewer yards, and with just 1 TD.

I’m not sure what the big difference is between the two. I like Tampa Bay getting McMillan late in the third a lot more than the Patriots grabbing Polk early in the second.

Where Polk was picked, at least, the hit rate is pretty good. In the last 10 years, there have been 22 other wide receivers selected in the first half of the second round. Ten of those guys at some point in their career had a top-30 season (using PPR scoring). I’ve got those players tagged with black dots. Five of those 22 receivers finished with top-40 numbers in their first year.

WIDE RECEIVERS SELECTED IN FIRST HALF OF SECOND ROUND (last 10 yrs)
YearPlayerPkNoYardsTDPPRRkBest
2014• Jordan Matthews, Phil.42678728202.22516
2014Marqise Lee, Jac.3937422186.18840
2014Paul Richardson, Sea.4529271162.19839
2015Dorial Green-Beckham, Ten.40325494112.95959
2015• Devin Funchess, Car.41314735108.36522
2015Devin Smith, NYJ379115126.5142142
2016• Michael Thomas, N.O.479211379259.771
2016Sterling Shepard, NYG40656838184.43632
2017• Zay Jones, Buff.3727316270.68726
2017• Curtis Samuel, Car.4015115032.912624
2018• Courtland Sutton, Den.40427044136.35019
2018• Christian Kirk, Ari.47435903123.55812
2018Dante Pettis, S.F.44274675103.57171
2019• Deebo Samuel, S.F.36578023191.1313
2020• Tee Higgins, Cin.33679086196.62819
2020Laviska Shenault, Jac.42586005157.14646
2020• Michael Pittman, Ind.3440503198.98013
2020KJ Hamler, Den.4630381390.18888
2021Elijah Moore, NYJ34435385138.25050
2022Christian Watson, G.B.34416117164.14242
2022Wan'Dale Robinson, NYG4323227151.611654
2023Jonathan Mingo, Car.3943418084.88181
2024Keon Coleman, Buf.33??????
2024Ladd McConkey, LAC34??????
2024Ja'Lynn Polk, N.E.37??????

—Ian Allan

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