(Editor’s Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held May 8-10, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today’s featured player is Florida State’s Timmy Jernigan).
Name: Timmy Jernigan
Position: Defensive Tackle
College: Florida State
Honors: Jernigan finished first-team All-ACC his final season and was named a first-team All-American by ESPN and a second-team All-American by USA Today, CBSSports.com, the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated.
Key stat: The defensive tackle had a season-high nine tackles against Auburn in the BCS National Championship. He started 14 games in 2013 and set career highs in tackles (63), tackles for loss (11) and sacks (4.5).
Where He’s Projected: It’ll be a shock if Jernigan isn’t selected in the first round. He was a force as an inside presence at Florida State, playing mostly over the center or as a one-technique defensive tackle, where he’s projected to play at the next level. He’s been a favorite in a lot of mock drafts to land with the Cowboys at 16, but that’ll depend on how Dallas sees his fit. Jernigan will likely be gone after the middle of the first round, but the Cowboys have said during the offseason that they won’t typically look for a one-technique tackle in the first round.
How He Helps the Cowboys: Rod Marinelli will typically rotate in and out his defensive linemen, which would ideal for Jernigan, who can help in spurts early on. He’s extremely difficult to move around and is stable at the point of attack, but his endurance or lack thereof has been on display late in games, most recently and notably in the national championship. When he’s on the field and fresh, he’s a load to move and difficult to handle. Jernigan recorded 27 reps at the Combine, is used to taking on double teams and won’t be pushed back often. He’d immediately fill in and compete to start at the one-technique in Dallas, further bolstering the interior of the defensive line and allowing
Bryan Broaddus – In the Florida State scheme he played either on the nose of the center or on the inside shoulder of the guard as a one technique. In this scheme for the Cowboys, I would play him as a one. He’s an early out junior that can be very disruptive on tape. Big, powerful lower body. He can be difficult to move when blockers try and handle him head up. He’ll fight blocks by extending his hands, then holding the blocker in place. He his body to take on blocks. He’s got the strength to hold the point.
Jernigan shows some quickness with his hands. In Florida State’s scheme, he almost plays like he is a two-gap nose in the way he extends, then looks for the ball. He does a really nice job of discarding the blocker once he sees the ball. I’ve seen him get up the field quickly with an arm over move and get in the backfield. He doesn’t not lack movement skills when it comes to working down the line. He’s not killing grass by staying in one spot – his feet are always moving. Jernigan has a nose for the ball and is very aware, showing the ability to read blocks quickly. He can get push with power. The Auburn game was a great example of this. He plays with balance. It’s very rare that you see him off his feet.His effort to finish plays is very good until he gets tired – then you will see him get stuck on blocks and late off the snap. He missed a tackle for loss against Florida with a quick move but couldn’t finish the play. He possesses amazing upper body strength and leverage. If he gets his hands inside on the blocker, it’s over. He can get push up the field when he wants too. If you just watched the Auburn tape, he is a top five selection. But there are others like Miami and Florida where he wasn’t as good. I mentioned that I would play him as the one, but he has the quickness to handle some snaps as the three. In this scheme, the three is the valued position. After what we saw with Shariff Floyd last draft, I’m not sure that they would take a one technique in the first round, but Jernigan sure deserves that consideration at 16 if in fact they do.