Football / Sports

Ravens pick Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan in second round

The Ravens selected two Florida State defensive players and added a tight end on Day 2 of the NFL draft on Friday.

In the second round, the Ravens landed one of the top defensive linemen in the draft, acquiring Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan with the 48th overall pick. The Ravens stuck with defense when they drafted Florida State safety Terrence Brooks with the 79th overall pick in the third round.

The Ravens added tight end Crockett Gillmore out of Colorado State with the 99th overall pick in the third round.

Jernigan was projected as a first-round draft pick, but dropped significantly after news surfaced that he had produced a diluted drug specimen at the NFL scouting combine in February. Jernigan and his agent both attributed the test result to hydration issues, denying that the consensus All-American had tested positive for any banned substances.

Jernigan emphatically dismissed reports that he had failed a drug test. Under its drug testing program, though, the NFL has treated diluted samples in the past as the equivalent of a positive drug test.

"It wasn't a positive drug test, the sample was diluted," Jernigan said during a conference call with Baltimore reporters. "I was losing weight very fast, and it was causing me to cramp. My nutritionist wanted me to start drinking a lot more water. She would have to put salt in my Gatorade to keep me from cramping. I had to go see another doctor in Jacksonville and she had to do an IV on me the week leading up to the combine.

"I feel like that was the reason for the diluted test. When I got the information from the NFL saying that I had a diluted test, I reached out to the doctor. I never got a response back from anyone, just trying to figure out what was going on and if something was found in my urine test, what was it? I never got any answers. Then all of this madness just starts. Man, it's just crazy."

The 6-foot-2, 302-pounder declared for the NFL draft following his junior year, during which the Seminoles won the national championship. He recorded nine tackles in the BCS national title victory over Auburn despite battling an illness.

"I was hearing it a lot," Jernigan said of the first-round conversations. "But around the end, around the last couple of weeks, I kind of was hearing second-round a little. With the incident that just happened, I kind of figured out that I would probably fall a little bit. I'm happy to be where I'm at."

Jernigan had 63 tackles and 4.5 sacks last year, his lone season as a full-time starter. He finished his career with 139 tackles, 25 tackles for losses and 8.5 sacks with one fumble recovery.

He has drawn high marks for being a disruptive interior lineman who plays with power, but has also been criticized by analysts for his lack of ideal size and mobility.

Jernigan's arrival follows the Ravens losing defensive tackle Arthur Jones in free agency to the Indianapolis Colts, with whom he signed a five-year, $33 million contract.

It's unclear where he'll line up as Jernigan was regarded as a stronger fit for 4-3 schemes, and the Ravens primarily run a 3-4 base defense.

"I don't know exactly where they want me to play, but that's the great thing about drafting a player like me is I can adapt, play anywhere along the front," Jernigan said. "Anything that I'm asked to do I'm going to do it with everything that I have."

Jernigan said he arrives in the NFL with plenty of motivation to prove that teams made a mistake passing on him.

"I definitely got a chip on my shoulder," Jernigan said. "I'm glad the Baltimore Ravens drafted me. To be able to play on a great defense, the Ravens definitely play with a swagger. They play football the way that I play football. I feel like I'm the perfect match. I'm definitely going to bring another edge to the defense."

With the first of their two third-round picks, the Ravens filled one of their biggest needs.

The Ravens did so with Brooks, a rangy free safety who could allow the Ravens to shift free safety Matt Elam to his natural strong safety position.

It also marked the third straight pick the Ravens used to upgrade the middle of their defense.

"I felt like they needed a safety, and I just felt like a lot of teams needed safeties this year and they just kept passing me up," Brooks said. "I just knew that at least one of them was going to bite and I'm glad it's the Ravens. I've already got Timmy there, and I love that team just from how physical they are. That's how I play my game, just so physical and just mean.

"I was like, if I could take one guy with me, it would be Timmy. I just know we do damage together. We did it at Florida State. We can do it anywhere. I know there's another real strong safety over there with Matt Elam. I'm going to feel right at home."

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Brooks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds and registered a 38-inch vertical leap. That's as fast as many cornerbacks. He started 13 games for the national champion Seminoles, and had 56 tackles, eight tackles for loss, one sack and two forced fumbles.

"I feel like my game is very fast," said Brooks, who had five career interceptions. "When I make a decision, it's right away and I get there very fast. I feel like my acceleration is one of my strong points."

(c)2014 The Baltimore Sun

Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus