Hand Use: Jernigan has quick hands and does a great job moving people out of his way. Regardless of if he is going through you or around you Jernigan has you where he wants you. He possesses a very impressive swim move to shed blocks and keeps his hands inside of lineman when shutting down the run.
Motor: One of the more overrated terms in scouting reports but it needs to be brought up. I love when a player will attempt to make a play even if they don’t exactly have the speed to make the play, effort is huge and Jernigan shows a lot of effort. You’ll occasionally see him running downfield doing whatever he can, seeing him make a tackle or be at the ball twenty yards downfield is pretty common.
Pass Rush: Where Jernigan puts his other positives to good use, the pass rush. Jernigan creates good interior pressure on a constant basis and that’s becoming more and more needed in the NFL. He uses his quick pass rush to blow by guards and an impressive stack and shed ability to disengage from interior lineman.
Run Defense: Not dominant or great in run defense, this would be Jernigan’s biggest weakness in my eyes. He uses his stack and shed ability to disrupt plays often but on the flip side he often gets run out of plays. Sometimes it’s due to double times, and sometimes he just gets driven downfield, it’s relatively rare but still a big concern.
Extension: Jernigan can occasionally over extend himself and lose his leverage which keeps him from making any plays. Sometimes he over extends his whole body and sometimes it’s just his arms, he’ll get locked on a lineman and basically just hold him there, possibly taking the play off. The over extension isn’t a big problem, it’s something that can most likely be fixed and it doesn’t happen enough to ruin his grade for me.
NFL Player Comparison: Tommy Kelly, New England Patriots
Kelly isn’t the greatest at stopping the run but he does a good job creating interior pressure and that’s something Jernigan does well. He’ll flash from time to time in the run game, but likely to be a bit of a liability there. Jernigan belongs out there creating interior pressure and limiting quarterbacks from stepping into their throws.
Jernigan is likely an early to mid-second round type of guy right now. He’ll enter the league and see most of his time as a sub-interior rusher while he works to round out his game and get better in other areas.
Jernigan will do best as a 3-tech defensive tackle at the next level and a place where he could shine early is in Foxboro with the New England Patriots. The Patriots have a 3-tech right now in Kelly, but he’s a little long in the tooth and will be coming off a knee injury that claimed most of his season. This pick would give Jernigan a place to learn from a veteran, and a great place to grow.