Cowboys Draft 2014: Scouting Timmy Jernigan

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Because there has been such a high correlation in recent years between the top collegians invited to Valley Ranch for pre-draft visits and who the Cowboys end up drafting, its important to know as much as possible about these players. As a service to you BTB is providing a series of detailed scouting reports on each of these targets. Today the series continues with our look at Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.

Name: Timmy Jernigan

Position: Defensive Tackle (1 Technique)

School: Florida State

Height: 6’2"

Weight: 298 LBs

Games Studied: Miami, Pittsburgh, Auburn

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results.  The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the player's peers by position. A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Pass Game:

Timmy Jernigan lined up several places up and down the line at Florida State, primarily setting up as either a true nose (0 technique) or a shade nose (1 technique), taking on centers or guards at the point of attack. In the Florida State scheme he was often asked to two-gap, and receive an offensive lineman and react to a play rather than immediately attacking at the snap. Because of this you see Jernigan win mostly with his upper body.

He is an extremely violent player with his hands, and is constantly using his arms to get separation from blockers.  There are times when you see where he looks like he’s literally just hip-tossing blockers aside. His power and violence in his upper body is what allows him to pressure the QB, and although he shows the ability to be disruptive, he plays almost entirely with power rather than penetrating and beating the blocker into a gap at the snap.

Run Game:

The run game is where Jernigan really stands out. This is where his hand violence, upper body explosiveness and lower body strength shine. On plays run at him he’s really at his best, as blockers fire off and attack him, Jernigan regularly uses impressive leverage, and pulls the matador, side-stepping him while using his opponents momentum against him and pushing him aside to put himself in position to make a play on the ball carrier. However on zone or sweep plays run away from him, many times he can get in trouble as he’s not at his best on the move in pursuit.

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection:

In my opinion Timmy Jernigan is a pure 1 technique in the Cowboys’ defense, and I didn’t see much in my studies to convince me that he could play 3 technique or be a factor in a nickel rush, which lowers his value for me. I love the intensity that he plays with and the power he gives you at the point of attack, but with the understanding I have of what the Cowboys are looking for in their rushmen, I don’t think he would be in the top 6 or 7 rotation as a nickel rusher, making him a 2 down player in my view.  Because of that he will receive high 2nd round grade on my Cowboys specific board. There are times (like the 3rd quarter of the National Championship Game) where he is the best player on the field and the offense can’t get anything going because he is constantly there in the middle tossing blockers aside and making stops at the LOS and disrupting the QB. But unlike some other defensive tackles we will study prior to the draft, he doesn’t live in his opponents backfield. The NFL blockers will be much more balanced and better with hand placement, and I fear the way Jernigan wins will be negated by the more skilled blockers he will face at the next level.

Pro Comparison: Glenn Dorsey, DT, San Francisco 49ers (2008 1st Round Pick, 5th overall, Kansas City)

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