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?