OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens had planned to add competition for their starting defensive tackle ever since Arthur Jones left as a free agent.
They accomplished that by drafting Timmy Jernigan, one of the key pieces of Florida State’s defense that finished last season ranked third nationally.
The Ravens had Jernigan ranked as one of the top available players entering the second day of the draft and took him in the second round.
“Anytime you can add a defensive lineman to your football team, you get yourself better,” Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “And you get a guy that can both be involved in the run and the pass and [who is] coming off a National Championship team.”
Some analysts feel the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Jernigan is best suited to play nose tackle in the NFL, but he will primarily focus on defensive tackle with the Ravens.
He will join a competition for the starting job that also includes 2013 third-round pick Brandon Williams, 2013 sixth-round pick Kapron Lewis-Moore and 2012 draft pick DeAngelo Tyson.
Jernigan was projected as a top-15 pick by some pundits early in the pre-draft process but ended up being available to Baltimore midway through the second round.
He was a second-team All-American at Florida State last season. He was third on the team in tackles with 67 and had 11 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks.
“He’s really active. He moves around. But he is stout,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He does not get moved out at all.”
One of the primary knocks on Jernigan is his lack of ideal size, especially for a 3-4 defense like Baltimore’s.
Defensive tackles in a 3-4 are ideally around 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4 and around 310 or 315 pounds.
Jernigan falls short in both areas.
He also may have fallen some in the draft because of a diluted urine sample at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, although a diluted sample is not the same as a positive test and Jernigan vehemently denied any wrongdoing during a conference call with Baltimore media.
He blamed the diluted sample on having excess fluid in his body from his pre-draft training.
Jernigan said he began training weighing around 315 and quickly dropped down to 299. He had issues with cramping as a result, and he said a nutritionist had him starting drinking more to combat that.
She also started putting salt in his Gatorade, he said, and he apparently also had an IV treatment during the week leading up to the combine.
“I feel like that was the reason for the diluted test,” Jernigan said.
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