From the FanPosts -Joel
As much as it pains me to admit, Aaron Donald's unmatched production in college and tantalizing physical abilities showcased at the Combine have most likely jettisoned him away from the Chiefs pick at 23.
There have been many discussions on AP between Donald, Stephon Tuitt, and Rashede Hageman but a name not often mentioned is Timmy Jernigan Jr. The 300 pounder primarily played NT at Florida St. and racked up 4.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and 63 total tackles in FSU's run to the BCS Championship.
Compare that to Louis Nix III of Notre Dame last year (0 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and 27 total tackles) & Nix's best year in 2012 (2 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, and 50 total tackles) and Timmy's production clearly comes out on top. To be fair, the 350lb. Nix III is undoubtedly a nose tackle in the NFL while Jernigan is not, which could explain the discrepancy between their stats; the counterpoint is that both were double teamed as much as any college player in NCAAF and Nix had another first round caliber player on the line.
I personally believe he will be picked up before KC's first round pick but I think his strong play and physique deserves consideration and a healthy discussion. Jernigan could play both a 4-3 DT or a 3-4 DE in the minds of many and here are several strengths and weaknesses of the seldom discussed talent:
1) Ability to Get into The Backfield
Jernigan possesses violent and active hands which allowed him to compound and intensify an arsenal of moves in FSU. He has a quick punch to hold off blockers, a fluid and powerful swim move, a nasty rip move, and showed flashes of the spin and counter moves that big guys like him have trouble with. Of course as a NT, he had numerous bull rushes throughout a game which varied in effectiveness but he generally won the point of attack. As a 3-4 DE, I don't think he will have much problem anchoring although he needs to improve his upper body strength just like all of the DE prospects in the draft.
Tim and his Hand's Awesome Show @4:05, 5:35, 5:44, 6:24
Hands and Timmy make a Promo @0:38, 1:40, 2:17, 2:31, 4:28
2) His Ability to Control The Point of Attack
His encouraging play at NT for the BCS Champions speaks for itself but it is worth reiterating: Jernigan was a monster plugging up holes and bolstering against the point of attack. This is a definite plus as a NFL 3-4 DE whose main priority is to stop or redirect the run. With Sutton employing a one gap system, it only aids Jernigan's case as the ideal fit for the defense. While he does have the athleticism and strength to maintain two gaps, it makes it easier for him against the run and the pass with single gap responsibility. The way he was able to position and angle his body to execute the play calls was instrumental to FSU's success on defense.
Anchorman 3 @1:06, 2:10, 3:24, 3:46
3) Leverage and Push
Jernigan usually had great leverage against offensive linemen and was rarely caught with a high stance. Combined with his hand-feet coordination, he was often capable of getting where he needed to be even if he was locked up. Although that situation isn't ideal, he made impressive plays throughout the season moving to the right spot, bursting out of the hold violently, and making the tackle. That was another forte of his; once he got his mitts on a body, he made sure to bring it down with force. Good leverage also allowed him to push through momentary stalemates and deny running lanes.
The Man Down Under @2:13, 2:55, 3:27, 6:09
4) His Nasty Demeanor
"I love Ndamukong Suh," Jernigan told reporters. "I love the way he plays the game, his mindset, the mentality, the nastiness he plays with. The guy's lethal.
"You can tell that with the way he plays. That's the way you have to play this position especially on that level.
"If you don't play the game with an attitude, you really won't make it too long playing inside."
While Jernigan has not had the red flags that Suh proudly flung around in college, he has spoken highly about the Lion which has raised a couple of eyebrows around the league. I personally love what Jernigan is saying because the Chiefs defense lacks a nasty attitude and is something it should develop moving forward. Hali, Houston, Flowers, DeVito, Poe, and DJ are great athletes and players, but they are all "put your head down and make play after play" type of guys. Seahawks Legion of Boom is probably a bit too off the spectrum, in their own planet really, but that attitude is contagious and brings explosion and energy to a defense. Chiefs already have too much anger and nastiness with trash talking Jeff Allen on offense... but the defense needs a bit of spark I think. Let me clarify that Jernigan isn't a yellow flag machine and never has been in college, which shows that he understands what it means to mirror Ndamukong Suh in a positive light.
"An official judo throw"...
1) Slow Off the Ball
If there is one glaring weakness in Jernigan's game, it is his explosion off the snap. He isn't the last one out of his stance often, but the burst is obviously lacking especially when you compare him to a player like Clowney. I don't think he will be any slower than Mike DeVito after few months of training, but it is a strike against the first round pick. The good news is that he uses significant movements and technique to win most battles but it is something to look at. It is foreseeable that he drops to around 295lbs to get a bit more quickness as a 3-4 DE.
2) Conditioning and Stamina
There were some questions about his stamina and effort at the end of few games throughout the season. While many prospects will make conditioning a priority before the draft and in training camp, Chiefs need a reliable 3-4 DE starter to keep on the field for most of the game. Quarterbacks in the AFC West like Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers do not allow big men to catch their breaths between plays and unfortunately Chiefs play them twice each. Add that to the growing number of dangerous running QBs that use their legs to run and pass, and the concern becomes significant. However, he did play NT and was constantly double teamed even against the Auburn offensive line, one of the best in 2013-2014, so that may have played a factor in one of Jernigan's few weaknesses.
Let's keep in mind that this guy played NT for FSU. While his numbers or tape doesn't immediately jump out like those of Aaron Donald or Khalil Mack, a closer look reveals an elite well-rounded prospect. Again I do not think he will be on the board when Chiefs come up to draft, but there is a much higher chance of him sliding than Donald at this point. KC does have several other options at 3-4 DE whether it is Hageman or Tuitt in the first round. Maybe a late round pick like Jay Bromley of Syracuse to double up with Catapano. Even signing Jared Allen to one or two year deal with a discount to close out his career at Arrowhead. However after looking at Timmy Jernigan Jr.'s physical skillset and attitude toward football, I think he could be the player they will look to put next to Dontari Poe and Mike DeVito if he is still there in the first round. The highlights below are the "eye-popping" plays that will excite and better capture the playmaker side of Jernigan.