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2014 NFL Draft Prospects: Timmy Jernigan a valuable utility lineman

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Florida State's disruptive interior defensive lineman projects more urgently as a 3-technique but his strength and hand movement could lead some to believe, in time, he could be developed into an excellent nose tackle.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
Florida State's defense was more the sum of its whole than the sum of its parts. But they had good individual players as well.

Their multi-purpose defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan is one of them.

The Seminoles moved him all over the line, playing the nose tackle (0 technique) as well as the 1-technique and 3-technique positions, depending on the situation. While he has a few understandable flaws (he's not likely to be taken in the top 10), he has good quickness and a good nose for the football. His real issue is in his anticipation - something that can be explained by the fact he only has one full year of starting experience under his belt.

Otherwise, he's an excellent athlete with good strength. He's mobile and can move whomever he needs to on the field. He's something of a work-in-progress, so aiming for the kind of impact Carolina's Star Lotulelei may be a bit of a stretch, but in time, he has a good chance to become a solid lineman.

Jernigan anticipates the play well here, getting his hands up into a solid base position right at the snap. He recognizes the zone run, and swims off the center, knifing between the zone to make the play on the ball carrier. On one hand, he showed how well he's already using his hands, and really wasn't challenged by the guard. On the other, he gets a bit high on the tackle (he's more of a "get it done" guy, not as much a "explemplary form" kind of guy), and he could have pressed the center a little more after making contact. He stands up, and lets go of a lot of leverage, where the guard probably could have moved him on a combo block (something Pittsburgh did not long after this play).

Coaches will love how active Jernigan is. He's running an inside stunt from the 3-technique position, looking to cross the center and get into the A-gap. After making contact with the center, he shuffled over to the guard and sees an opening straight to the passer. One quick swim move later, he's taking him down. That sudden burst of speed is critical in a pass rush situation, but he makes multiple athletic moves on this play, demonstrating how active he is as well as how good of an athlete he is.

Jernigan is again late off the snap, but it's a wonder if he's not simply just in a very reactive mindset. He stands up on the snap, and uses the guard's forward surge against him. A quick hand move, he's on top of the running back, and with some help from his teammate, he's bouncing the runner out of a nice seam to the outside.

The standing up thing will need to get fixed at the next level - solved by constant training in the chutes. He gets a little high on this play, and the center gets the advantage on Jernigan, playing the 0-technique. When the double team comes, he's moving backwards, but he re-sets his lower body and doesn't conceed much ground. In fact, he moves his blockers back toward the line of scrimmage by the time the running back rushes into the wall. His strength would be better utilized in concert with more fundamental technique, but again, this is a player who had not seen a ton of game action at defensive tackle before this season.

Jernigan will be a 21-year-old rookie with more strength than his frame suggests. He doesn't have prototypical length, and his next coaches will really hammer home fundamentals with him in order to prevent being overpowered by longer guards and centers.

His athleticism will enable him to be a disruptive player at the next level, and with some time invested into technique and the weight room, he could end up playing the 0-technique in the NFL. Great upside, even if he might not see the field very often his rookie year.