Timmy Jernigan: The Best Nose Tackle in The Draft

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking down Nose Tackles today: Starting with all american Timmy Jernigan

The Seminoles transitioned into more of a multipe defense in 2013, featuring more 3-4 than years past. Previously, Tim Jernigan was lined up as a "3 technique" where he would be on the weak side of the formation shaded over the outside shoulder of the guard. He was pretty good there, but I always felt like he could be better closer to the line of scrimmage.

This year Jernigan played more directly over the center, as a 0 technique, or directly shaded over the shoulder of the center, as a 1 technique. The move to the 3-4 really helped Jernigan flourish as a player. Jernigan's production has seemingly doubled, even though Florida State had most of their games locked up midway through the 3rd quarter.

So the question becomes, is Jernigan the answer for the Chargers at Nose Tackle? Before we get into his on field performance, here's how he stacks up compared to other defensive tackles.

Measurable Jernigan Average DT
Height 6'2 6"3
Weight 299 305
Arm Length 31 5/8" 33 1/4
Bench 27 27
Vertical 29.5 29"
Broad Jump 102" 104"
20 Yard Shuttle 4.83 4.63
3-cone N/A 7.64

Strengths

  • Power/Bull Rush
  • Swim/Rip Move
  • Winning at the point of attack
  • Read & React Skills/Discipline
  • Motor
One of the things I liked most about watching Jernigan was that he never ran himself out of the play. He always did a good job of getting the appropriate depth in the background, and made the play. He also seemed very aware. Whether it was sniffing out screens, or chasing plays down the line of scrimmage. Jernigan stuck me as a smart football player.

Tj_medium

For those that have seen Jernigan, it's been pretty well documented that he's slow off of the snap. I don't necessarily view it as a disadvantage. It's as if he lulls offensive lineman to sleep, and that's when he wins at the point of attack. Jernigan has a very good arm over move that he uses. It's effective against the pass:

Tj1_medium

Here he is below forcing a sack.

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But against the run is where Jernigan's arm over is most effective. On run plays, that's when offensive lineman fire off the ball, and Jernigan okie dokes them with the arm over.

Tj4_medium

The next GIF, Jernigan doesn't finish the play, but it's clear how well he sets up offensive lineman with that arm over move.

Tj3_medium

POWER

Every time I saw Jernigan play, I thought of Kanye's song "Power." "Know one man should have all that power." This guy is "insert adjective" strong. He throws 300 pound men around like rag dolls, and does it easy.

Tj6_medium

It was funny to watch. Jernigan has power that you just don't see, even at a position where power and strength is a must. This next 2 GIFs tells you all you need to know about Jernigan's strength.

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This last one Jernigan gets under the Center and walks him back. If he wants you to move, you're going to move.

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When Jernigan puts all of his strengths together, he's a great player. He's not just an incredibly powerful man, but can show a good closing burst as well. He's demonstrated he can win with a great swim move, as well as a solid rip through move. Then you factor in his discipline and awareness, and it's easy to see why teams want to take Jernigan in the 1st.

Where He Needs to Improve

  • Counter Moves
  • Hand Usage
  • Plays High at Times
  • Relies too much on Power
The biggest complaint I have with Jernigan is that if he doesn't win early, you won't see him flash later on in the play and finish. Outside of his arm over/bull rush moves, he doesn't really have a pass rush move to go to. So I have a hard time counting on him to be a legitimate pass rush force at the next level. Of course, he could develop some, it's just not there yet.

Jernigan has a habit of popping straight up out of his stance and playing high. When he does this, that's the only time you'll see him get moved out of his spot. Because he doesn't really counter, this is an issue at times. He's also the last one off the ball more often than not. While I said it's not a fault earlier, looking ahead at the next level, bigger, stronger lineman will be able to lock onto him.

Lastly, it lumps into the previous issues, but Jernigan is too reliant on his power. In the NFL, you're not going to be able to out muscle every offensive lineman. When he doesn't win with his bull rush/arm over, he's just another player. Jernigan will need to develop pass rush moves to be an every down player at the next level.

Grade


Multiple Pro Bowl Player, Top 10 8.5 – 9.0
Highly Productive Starter, 1st Round 8.0 – 8.4
Very Good Starter, Early 2nd Round 7.8 – 7.9
Reliable Starter, 2nd Round 7.5 – 7.7
Potential Starter in Year 2, 3rd Round 7.0 – 7.4
Backup/Spot Starter, 4th Round 6.5 – 6.9
Productive Backup, 5th Round 6.0 – 6.4
Very Good Backup/STs, 6th Round 5.5 – 5.9
Quality Backup/Good STs, 7th Round 5.0 – 5.4
Backup/STs/Project Player, 7th Round 4.5 – 4.9
Priority Free Agent w/ Limitations 4.0 – 4.4
Non-Draftable

Trait Weight Grade
Run Stopping 2 1.8
Hand Usage/placement 4 3.5
First Step 2 1.4
Tackling 2 1.9
Disengage 3 2.5
Read & React 2 2
Leverage/Strength 4 4
Pass Rush 2 1.6
Toughness/Motor 2 2
Lateral Movement 2 2

Jernigan grades out to an 8.1, so a late 1st rounder. His positional versatility should help him, as he can line up in any gap from guard to guard. Jernigan's jaw dropping power combined with his ability to stop the run and upside as a pass rusher make him a steal anywhere after the 1st round.

How He Fits as a Charger

Jernigan can be that 0 technique that fans want. As Sean Lissemore showed last year, it's not so much about size, as it is about leverage, and just knowing how to play the position. Like Lissemore, Jernigan is a very smart, yet unselfish player. He would add much needed depth along the interior defensive line. He is the best nose tackle that I saw in 2013. His ability to play head up on the center and still dominate without being washed out was encouraging. If the Chargers were to spend their early round pick on a nose tackle, Jernigan would be my choice.
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