On Tuesday, the Ravens made a decision that had been speculated upon for many weeks: trading defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan.
Jernigan has three NFL seasons under his belt, and put forth a strong 2016 season with five sacks, 31 tackles including four stuffs, one fumble recovery, one interception, and three passes defended.
At first, I was pretty shocked when I looked at the return the Ravens were getting for trading Jernigan and the 99th overall pick to the Eagles. All the Ravens received was the 74th pick. My knee jerk reaction was to give this trade an E, at best, but when looking deeper into it, the trade may have actually been a pretty smart move for Ozzie Newsome and his staff. Thus, my grade for the trade, now that I’ve given it time to settle, is a C+.
Why a C+? It comes down to a couple of main points.
I raised the grade my initial knee jerk reaction because of the possible value the Ravens could get from picking at 74 overall. I’ve done a lot of seven round mock drafts for the Ravens, and seemingly every time, a third round player that the Ravens really could use never falls to one of the team’s two third round picks.
Now, that changes. When playing with the mock draft simulator on Fanspeak.com, using multiple analyst’s big boards, I often found the Ravens having the possibility of selection Tyus Bowser or Carl Lawson, two really solid pass rushers. When looking at offensive line, Taylor Moton and Dion Dawkins were occasionally available, but Dorian Johnson was there nearly every time. If the Ravens haven’t selected a cornerback by this point, Fabian Moreau was sitting there a couple of times. Finally, if the Ravens wanted to select a wide receiver, Carlos Henderson, Chris Godwin, Amara Darboh and Taywan Taylor were all available. These four receivers all possess good value, especially if the Ravens didn’t select one in the first two rounds.
Secondly, Jernigan will be a free agent after the 2017 season. It doesn’t seem likely that he would be returning to Baltimore anyway. Brandon Williams forced Jernigan to move to defensive end, and now Williams has been locked up for the long term, meaning Jernigan won’t be able to return to his natural position in Baltimore. In addison, Michael Pierce had a strong 2016 season. Pierce may have to undergo a similar transition to what Jernigan did, and the 2016 underrated rookie may have pushed Jernigan for playing time. Finally, the Ravens will get 2016 third round pick Bronson Kaufusi back. Kaufusi is a natural defensive end, and would have pushed for a starting role in training camp this year as well.
Now, with Jernigan, and Lawrence Guy gone, Pierce, Kaufusi and other young players will have a chance to compete for two open defensive end spots. In addition, the Ravens also might be able to get DeMarcus Walker from Florida State in the third round of the draft, and let him compete for the defensive end slot as well.
Plus, Jernigan likely will command a sizable price tag on the market that the Ravens can’t afford, especially after resigning Williams. Thus the Ravens were able to get something for a player that, had they not traded him, would have left the Ravens empty handed.
If the trade had all these positive aspects, then why is it only a C+?
As previously stated, the Ravens didn’t get a huge return for an ascending young player as well as a third round pick. In the end the Ravens just moved up 25 spots in the third round. Yes, it’s better to get something than nothing, but it’s fair to wonder if the Ravens could have gotten a better offer. That is the biggest reason why the trade did not receive a higher grade.
In summary, this trade gets a C+ for having both positive and negatives, but in the long term, I foresee the positives outweighing the negatives. Keep an eye out for a new seven round mock coming soon with the updated draft order.