Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Scouting The 2014 NFL Draft: Timmy Jernigan

During the National Championship, there were many standout players, but there is one guy that jumped out whether he was on the field or on the bench. Timmy Jernigan was the engine that made Florida State's defense go. When he was on the field, he was raising havoc. Unfortunately, he got gassed causing all that havoc, and had to spend a significant amount of time on the sideline. Still, that is a pretty good sign that his presence is that valuable. I thought he would look good in a Bears uniform, but I wanted to take a closer look to decide how badly I wanted him in a Bears uniform, so I rewatched the National Title game thanks to JPDraftJedi.

His quickness is good, as he stays active and jumps around the sides of blocks to help make plays at the line of scrimmage. Still, his strength is where he really makes a difference. He was able to hold his position on the line without getting moved back and exposing large holes.

One reason that he got tired is that Auburn's offense has to be about the most tiring thing for any defensive line to face. With the high pace, lots of read options, and so many cutbacks, it is meant to get the defensive linemen to run around despite having a low chance of actually being able to reach the runner. It definitely wore down Jernigan, whose use of his hands ebbed and flowed throughout the game.

It's tough to shine as a defensive tackle, but when this guy is on, it is incredibly exciting. Watch these three plays, and you will see why it is easy to get hyped up about Jernigan.

The first play, he holds his ground against the offensive lineman before turning him and stopping a running back at full speed dead in his tracks and then drives him backwards.
The next play, he punks out the center with a rip and hurries the quarterback into an incomplete pass.
Finally, the coup de grace. He blows up this running play by running straight through the right guard , and stands over his vanquished opponent while destroying the running back in the hole. That is not fair, and that is something so very few guys can do.

When I watched Florida State's defense, the most noticeable thing was how much better they played with Jernigan in the game. When he was out, it changed their defense, as he allows others to make plays. Still, he can make his own plays as well. I still think Aaron Donald is probably the top guy in this class of defensive tackles, but Jernigan isn't a bad consolation prize for teams that aren't able to select Donald, as I definitely see the tools to make him an impact player at the next level.

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