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Context for the Jernigan trade

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the Eagles on Tuesday. The exchange included the Ravens compensatory third round draft choice, number 99 overall, and the Eagles 74th overall third round pick. Jernigan was entering the final season of his rookie contract and the Ravens were clearly not planning to resign him.

The reaction from the fanbase has been mixed. Some are thrilled to move up in what is expected to be a strong third round and were willing to forgo Jernigan’s potential contributions next season and the compensatory pick the Ravens would have probably received in the 2019 draft when he left Baltimore next offseason. Others wish the Ravens had been able to acquire an additional draft pick to make up for the new hole created on the defensive line depth chart or were expecting Jernigan to follow Ravens tradition by elevating his play in his fourth season.

We will not be able to accurately judge this trade until next offseason. By then we will have seen who is acquired with the draft picks involved, how the Ravens defensive line fares without Jernigan, how he performs for the Eagles and what size contract he lands on the open market next offseason. Until then, we are left with the draft pick trade value chart, draft history and draft projections.

According to PFT’s draft trade chart, the difference between the 74th pick and the 99th is 116 points. 116 points is equivalent to the 96th overall selection. In theory, the final season of Jernigan’s rookie contract was worth the last natural pick in the third round.

Jernigan himself was picked 48th overall, which carried a value of 420 points for a four year contract. Most players return more value to the team in the latter part of their rookie deals than the beginning and all players are unique so this is admittedly not a great measurement. But Jernigan did start 26 games in his first three season, at a minimum his final season was worth at least 105 points using this imperfect valuation method.

In terms of draft history, the players selected at 74th, 96th and 99th in the previous five drafts were as follows:

2016: 74 KC CB KeiVare Russell / 96 NE DT Vincent Valentine / 99 CLE OLB Joe Schobert

2015: 74 NYG DE Owa Odighizuwa / 96 CLE DE Xavier Cooper / 99 CIN LB PJ Dawson

2014: 74 NYG DT Jay Bromley / 96 MIN RB Jerrick McKinnon / 99 BAL TE Crockett Gillmore

2013: 74 DAL WR Terrance Williams / 96 KC RB Knile Davis / 99 KC LB Nico Johnson

2012: 74 KC OT Donald Stevenson / 96 STL WR Chris Givens / 99 HOU C Ben Jones

Not many notable players picked at these exact draft slots. There have been some difference makers selected in this draft range recently. Running back David Johnson went 86th in 2015. Guard Gabe Jackson was picked 81st and receivers Donte Moncrief and John Brown went back to back at 90-91 in 2014. Wideout Keenan Allen, corner Logan Ryan, tight end Jordan Reed and the Ravens own Brandon Williams were picked between 76-94 in 2013. Receiver T.Y. Hilton and running back Lamar Miller were selected 92nd and 97th in 2012.

Some draft classes are stronger than others and the 2017 crop of eligible players with third round projections is excellent. Who are the players currently mocked at these spots in the third round?...

Chad Reuter/NFL: 74 WR Josh Malone / 96 ILB Harvey Langi / 99 OLB Ryan Anderson

L. Easterling/USATS: 74 OLB Ryan Anderson / 96 OT Julie’n Davenport / 99 RB Jamaal Williams

Chris Burke/SI: 74 RB D’onta Foreman/ 96 LB Kendall Beckwith / 99 OG Dorian Johnson

D. Kurtenbach/FOX: 74 RB Samaje Perine / 96 LB Duke Riley / 99 OG Nico Siragusa

Steve Palazzolo/PFF: 74 OT Antonio Garcia / 96 OLB Ryan Anderson / 99 OT Conor McDermott

Bottom Line:

One the surface it seems the Eagles received the better end of the trade. Judging by John Harbaugh’s public admission that the Ravens were shopping Jernigan, there was probably an issue behind the scenes that made the promising defensive tackle seem expendable to the Ravens.

Some of the intriguing players that were available at 74th overall but not at 99th overall in the mock drafts above were front-7 defenders DeMarcus Walker, Montravius Adams, Raekwon McMillan and Derek Rivers. Safeties Budda Baker, Justin Evans and Marcus Maye, along with recievers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Curtis Samuel also came off the board with picks in the 80s in a few of the various mock drafts above.

Realistically, the Ravens do not know the order in which the players will ultimately be picked in the second half of the third round in 24 days. They have a decent idea of how the round will unfold but the evaluation process is still ongoing at this point. If this trade up allows the Ravens to land the last starting caliber prospect at a need position, the move could eventually prove to be a win.

The middle rounds of the upcoming draft are loaded with talented players and deep on quality. Depending on how the draft board falls, the Ravens best option may be to continue maneuvering for additional third and fourth round picks.

The Ravens offseason retooling project will continue...now with one less interior pass rusher on the roster.