The second-round defensive lineman selection is off to a strong start during organized team activities (OTAs), and he’s quickly caught the attention of his new teammates.
“He’s flashing a lot,” left guard
Jernigan was the 48th-overall pick in the draft, but he was regarded at one point as a top-20 talent. The Florida State product fell out of the first round after having a diluted urine sample on a drug test at the combine, which is sometimes the result of a person trying to mask drug use. Jernigan said the diluted sample was the result of overhydration because of increased fluids in his diet.
Jernigan has the tools to make an immediate impact during his rookie season, and the veterans have been impressed with what they have seen from him in practice.
“That kid is really quick-twitch, really explosive and strong,” left tackle
“Jernigan has been in the backfield, I know we don’t have pads on, but his explosiveness and power [are impressive],” cornerback
Jernigan, 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, is a smaller lineman who relies on his burst and technique. Rather than eating up blockers to allow linebackers make tackles, Jernigan’s strength is his ability to beat offensive linemen off the ball and make disruptive plays in the backfield.
He thrived in that role during a national championship season at Florida State, where he collected 63 tackles, including 11 for a loss. He also had 4.5 sacks.
“When they introduced all of the rookies in our first meeting, they put on a clip of him, and he just bench pressed a guy, threw him off and made a tackle,” Monroe said. “Hopefully, we can get a lot of that out of him.”
Jernigan has an opportunity over the next few months to put himself in the conversation for a starting role. The Ravens are looking for depth along the defensive line after the departure of Arthur Jones in free agency, and Jernigan will help fill that void.
He’s getting increased practice reps during OTAs because of injuries and veteran absences, as lineman
“He’s really coming along really well,” Osemele said. “We really need him to contribute this year and I think he has the ability to do that.”