Jan 6, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (8) reacts to a play against the Auburn Tigers during the second half of the 2014 BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Timmy Jernigan: The Safest Defensive Tackle for the Cowboys

Timmy Jernigan from Florida State is one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the upcoming draft. He is 6 ft 2, and 299lb, which makes him a good fit for the 3-technique. The Cowboys recently signed Henry Melton as our 3-technique defensive tackle, but that’s not a problem. Marinelli requires his defensive linemen to be disruptive, so a traditional 1-technique is not needed.

As we all know, there are three other defensive tackles that deserves to be picked in the first round. These prospects are Louis Nix, Ra’Shede Hagemen, and Aaron Donald. When I compare Jernigan to these four prospects, I think he is the safest pick for the Cowboys. Louis Nix is an extraordinary talent, but he’s a 1-technique defensive tackle in our scheme. Some would argue he’s not disruptive enough for our scheme. So while Nix is a very talented prospect, there is a risk that he won’t fit our scheme. For Ra’Shede Hageman, he has rare size and speed but needs more development. Lastly with Aaron Donald, he is the most disruptive of the four defensive tackle. However there are concerns whether he has the size to make it in the NFL. With Timmy Jernigan, he has combination of talent, production, size, and scheme fit for us. I wouldn’t call him the best defensive tackle, but he is definitely the safest one for Dallas.

Easily the best attribute that Jernigan has is his block shedding ability. This alone is what will make him a good fit in Marinelli’s sheme. In a one-on-one situation, Jernigan uses a wide variety of moves to get off blocks. He is great with the rip and swim move. He’s very effective with these moves because of his strong violent hands. Jernigan is a very good at holding his ground at the point of attack. He shows great ability in both the pass and run games, and is capable of being a 3-down lineman.

There aren’t too many weaknesses to Timmy Jernigan; however the most concerning one to me is explosion. He does not have a good burst, which I think is one of the most important traits to a defensive lineman. He’s very slow to get off the ball. He also does not have a solution to double teams. Once he is doubled team, he is neutralized and is effectively taken out of the play. These weaknesses aren’t too concerning though. If he still manages to find a way to be productive, then his lack of explosion won’t matter. In addition, if he commands a double team, he is freeing up blockers for his teammates.

Overall, I like Timmy Jernigan to the Cowboys. He’s a safe prospect that doesn’t have huge weaknesses. However, he’s not the best defensive tackle in the draft. I do not think Jernigan has the upside that the other three defensive tackles showed. It really is a matter of preference. Would you rather have the high floor or high ceiling?

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  • David

    You lost all credibility when you said the traditional 1 tech is not needed. And Jernigan has a very questional motor. So yeah spend the 16th pick on that guy..Wow.

    • PaulTX

      Are you mad he didn’t want a Safety?

      • David

        Im not mad at all. I just wish people would research schemes that teams run, what their important positions are more than others. Then actually research the player and where the value is in the draft. Dallas also signed two FA interior D-lineman already so why would they invest a 1st round pick in one unless they traded back from 16 to the mid to lat 20′s. Especially when they have huge needs at FS, DE, LB and arguably G and T with Free a FA next year. So yeah by all means draft a guy like Jernigan at 16 who has a questionable motor and will be a rotational player.

        • PaulTX

          I don’t think you understand the Tampa 2. The traditional 1 tech is not needed, and that is why some people are still speculating that Dallas drafts Donald. The Tampa 2 is dependent on the front four getting pressure on the QB. So your DLs are smaller faster disruptive players, not the huge NTs.

          The Tampa 2 works really well with the right personnel set, which we do not have, but the downside of it is that a decent offense should be able to get yards every single play by either throwing in the seams of the zone or running up the middle. For that reason, the LBs and Safeties have to be fast guys that are great in coverage, so you have that part right. However; even if they are all Pro-Bowlers, if the front four do not get pressure on the QB, it does not matter.

          You are right that Jernigan would be a rotational player, and you know my draft rankings for the 1st: Barr, Dix, Pryor, but giving Kerrie crap over the the 1 tech is off. That is a true statement.

          • PaulTX

            The job of the NT in the Tampa 2 is to get up field rather than plug the gap, so this is a speed guy and not the 330lbs guy you think of when you talk about NTs. Wiki it. The article mentions multiple times that faster, smaller lineman are used.

            I’m with you David on drafting Jernigan. NT is not an important position, and I would prefer to have a FS or LB, but his statement about the 1 tech is dead-on.

            “Typically this style of defense utilizes smaller but faster linemen and linebackers with above average speed. Also, the defensive backs must be above average hitters.”

  • Scott.

    Build a strong team from within, meaning in the trenches. D line, og, dline in that order…. Please.

  • deanhighlife

    Too many Jerry drafts have been ruined with prospects with “potential”. A good safe pick is completely satisfactory to me.