2014 NFL Mock Draft: Steelers select DT Timmy Jernigan

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it's time to think outside the box - unless that box is the area between the tackles on the defensive side of the ball.

Everyone loves the pure concept of "Best Player Available." It screams of sheer, unadulterated improvement and versatility. Throw this player in this sub package to do only THIS. Or if teams try to combat that, we can put him in this player to handle THAT guy.

It isn't usually scheme-specific. Maybe that's the approach San Diego Union-Tribune writer Eddie Brown is using when he mocks Florida State 3-technique defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the Steelers at No. 15.

His reasoning:

The Steelers have one of the oldest defenses in the league, so an infusion of talented youth is needed this offseason. Jernigan was dominant in the national championship.

Certainly blunt and to the point. That kind of logic certainly suggests the Steelers will ride a super-powered Segway to the podium with the single purpose of drafting the best defensive player on the board.

Or, in Brown's case, the best defensive player on his board.

Jernigan did play well in the national championship game, and he's been on the first round radar of many draft prognosticators all season. After looking at the performance of Seattle's front seven during their Super Bowl XLVIII thrashing of the Denver Broncos, it's likely the stock of any defensive lineman with a quick first step will increase.

Whether that means the Steelers would ignore the fact he really doesn't fit into their defensive scheme or not is another question. Probably not, but the seed should still be planted that defense is speed, and defense wins championships.

Perhaps this isn't the time for thinking inside the box, unless that box refers to the one between the tackles on the defensive side of the ball.

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