Timmy Jernigan - Defensive Tackle - Florida State Seminoles
Jernigan is one of the record 90+ underclassmen who have declared for the NFL Draft and just might be the best interior defensive linemen in the group. Jernigan is a third-year junior, with 2013 being his first year as a starter. Florida State uses a strict rotation with their defensive linemen and as a freshman and sophomore, Jernigan got significant playing time in that rotation. Though he wasn't a starter, Jernigan played a key role on defense during both of those aforementioned seasons.
Jernigan lines up mostly as a 0, 1 and 2 technique depending on FSU's defensive formation. I've seen a few plays where he lines up at outside linebacker as well. He is very productive in his role. This season, Jernigan finished with 68 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. In 2012, the defensive tackle amassed 46 total tackles as well as 8 TFLs and 1.5 sacks. He also has numerous quarterback pressures.
For an inside player who plays a lot of 0 and 1 technique, Jernigan is not very big. He is listed as being 6020 - 292, and while I'm sure the 292 is close to accurate, he may not quite be 6'2 when he gets to the Combine. Jernigan has a thick frame with good arm length. While he may not time that great in the 40 (5.0 estimate), he is extremely quick and I doubt too many defensive linemen with be faster for ten yards. Jernigan is explosively quick and athletic. He is light on his feet and changes direction easily. He has very good balance and excellent lateral movement, enabling him to clear his feet through trash.
Jernigan has very good snap reaction to go along with a quick first step. He has quick hands and a strong punch that allows him to control opponents. His hand use is very good and that, along with his first step quickness, makes is very difficult for opposing offensive linemen to get their hands on him. Jernigan is an alert, instinctive player who finds the ball and makes plays. He is a top run defender who gets penetration and is disruptive. While he shows he can 2 -gap, he is much better when playing in 1 gap defenses where his quickness comes into play. As a tackler and a pursuit player, Jernigan is excellent.
As a pass rusher, the now ex-Seminole is quick off the ball and, again, combined with his hand use, he makes it difficult for linemen to block him. He has the snap in his hips to bull rush and the quick feet and hands to be very effective with counter moves. He demonstrates a very good burst coming off blocks to close on the quarterback.
Overall, Jernigan can play in any scheme, but I feel he is best suited to play in a 4-3 one gap scheme. This type of scheme utilizes his traits. In a Lovie Smith defense, Jernigan would be an excellent 3-technique candidate. He is a quality "A" level player who could start as a rookie for most teams.