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NFL's next notable pass rusher: Ravens' Timmy Jernigan

Apparently it is not just Ravens fans who have high expectations for the 2nd year defensive lineman....

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With a hole on the defensive line with the departure of longtime fixture and pro bowler Haloti Ngata, the Ravens invested several picks to bolster the line. Brandon Williams in 2013 (3rd round), Tim Jernigan in 2014 (2nd round), and Carl Davis in 2015 (3rd round) are the big talents on the line, and both Jernigan and Davis were in the 1st round conversation before slipping on draft day. Williams established himself as a top tier run stopper in 2014, with potential in  pass defense. Jernigan too showed flashes, filling in admirably last year during Ngata's  4 game suspension for PED's.

This year the team is counting on the 2nd year Jernigan to take the next step and keep the line at the high level the Ravens organization has come to pride themselves on having. Although the team has admirable depth, they still need the high level talents like Jernigan to take the next step.

Ravens fans have very high expectations, but apparently those expectations are not limited to just fans of this particular franchise. In an article on Grantland a few days ago, writer Robert Mays chose Jernigan as one of his next notable pass rushers along with Vinny Curry of the Eagles and Tyrone Crawford of the Cowboys.

Mays had high praise for Jernigan, specifically discussing his impressive ability to shed blocks:

Timmy Jernigan, DT, Ravens

Like a lot of Ravens, Jernigan wasn’t asked to do much as a rookie. He played over 300 snaps, including in the divisional round against New England, but man, did he make the most of those chances. Jernigan finished the season with four sacks, which would be a reasonable season for any rookie defensive tackle, let alone one who played about one-third of the time.

While he was at Florida State, I noticed Jernigan’s hands the most. He was absurdly good at standing offensive linemen up, discarding them like used tissues, and dragging down ball carriers at or behind the line of scrimmage. The book on Jernigan was that he’d always be an average pass-rusher with less-than-ideal explosiveness, despite his production on a national championship team. That’s what makes plays like this one against the Patriots so horrifying. To be clear, there is nothing average about what is happening here. That’s a tricky little swim move that happens instantly. I can name four or five defensive tackles in the league who could make a professional guard disappear like that.

Baltimore already knew what it was getting from Jernigan as a run defender, but even the Ravens have to be a little surprised how quickly he came around as a pass-rusher. Pass-rush numbers are often slow to develop for rookie defensive tackles, and here’s someone putting them up while barely getting on the field. It’s almost as if he were only a 22-year-old rookie who dominated in college and might have the potential to add elements to his game if he landed with the right team.

He also lamented the Ravens ability to snag guys like Jernigan outside the first round regularly:

It’ll be a couple of years before we have to worry about how much Timmy Jernigan is getting paid, but seriously, guys, how did we let the Ravens get Timmy Jernigan? We’ve talked about this! Letting Baltimore pick off talented defenders past the first round is something we agreed not to do anymore.

Jernigan is an important part of the Ravens future, so this is the year for him to step up and assert his dominance. He clearly has the abilities to do that, now we just need to see it consistently on the field.