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Ravens rookie Timmy Jernigan out to prove critics wrong

Whether it's due to on-field criticisms or the chatter surrounding his flagged drug test at the NFL combine, Timmy Jernigan is looking to silence his critics.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

When former Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan was drafted by the Ravens in the second round, a lot of folks were caught off guard due to the fact there wasn't an overwhelming need at the position.

But as the Ravens do, they stayed true to the draft board and selected who they believed to be the best player available at the 48th overall pick.

Jernigan showcased first-round potential this past season at Florida State, taking on double teams and still pushing through to apply pressure up the middle at the quarterback. But he had his detractors that said the Ravens shouldn't have taken him when they did based on need.

He's also dealt with recent criticism of what was reported as a failed drug test, to which Jernigan said was a diluted sample that triggered a flag. Regardless, Jernigan is looking to prove he belongs on this team.

"I'm definitely going to prove people wrong," Jernigan told reporters at Baltimore's rookie minicamp. "Ever since I got drafted, I've put [the drug test] behind me. I'm moving forward with my life, and I'm just trying to be the best Raven I can be [and] the best teammate I can be. I'm not worried about that stuff. I'm here to play football and be a great teammate - and that's it."

Asked if the flagged sample could bring more scrutiny to him, Jernigan said, "I don't care. I'm not worried about it. The only thing I'm worried about is playing football and winning football games. And after a while, I feel like the more I play, I'll be able to prove my point. I'm not going to get in any trouble. I'm walking a straight line. I'm just ready to play ball."

Jernigan has an opportunity to play both the three-technique and nose tackle positions as a rotation lineman this upcoming season. Unseating Haloti Ngata as a starter will be next to impossible, but there is an opening at the three-technique, with Jernigan, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Tyson and Kapron Lewis-Moore all expecting to get looks there (the latter two could also be five-technique linemen).

Even so, it looks as if the Ravens are envisioning Jernigan to move around quite a bit on the defensive line, at least in the beginning.

"In a scheme like this, I know that you really have to learn everything," Jernigan said. "The guys move around a lot — that's what I've seen. Each defensive lineman plays a little bit of the nose [guard], the shade [tackle] and the three-[technique] — a little bit of everything. So, that's my biggest thing is being able to learn the playbook as a defensive lineman, not just as a nose guard or a defensive tackle."