The Ravens have traded defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up 25 picks in the third round of this year's draft.
Baltimore is giving up Jernigan and the No. 99 pick overall (a compensatory selection) in exchange for the Eagles' No. 74 pick, which is the tenth pick in the third round.
The Ravens now have four picks in the top 78, which is particularly valuable in a loaded class.
"Timmy has been a terrific player for us for three seasons," Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. "This will allow our young group of defensive linemen an opportunity to compete and play."
The Ravens have now made two trades this offseason to improve their draft position. They also shipped center Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers to move up 12 spots in the sixth round.
Jernigan, 24, started 15 games for the Ravens last season and had the second-most sacks on the defense (five). He notched 13 sacks over his three seasons in Baltimore.
While trading a second-round pick (2014) before he finishes his rookie contract is an atypical move for the Ravens, the past year and recent developments have changed Jernigan's status with the team.
Considering Baltimore just gave fellow defensive lineman Brandon Williams a lucrative five-year contract, it would be difficult to retain Jernigan beyond 2017, the final year of his rookie contract.
By trading him now, the Ravens get instant value for his departure. They could get a compensatory pick if Jernigan left in next year's free agency if he got a big enough contract and playing time, but that wouldn't come until 2019.
According to the NFL trade chart, which puts values on draft picks, pick No. 74 has more than twice the value of pick No. 99, which the Ravens got after losing guard Kelechi Osemele in free agency last year.
Moving up 25 spots has essentially the same value of gaining a late third-round pick, which would have been the best-case scenario in a compensatory pick situation, and it comes two years earlier. After drafting 11 players last year (all still with the team), the Ravens need better young players, not necessarily more.
Jernigan is a very talented player, but his level of play wasn't consistent. Even Jernigan admitted last offseason that he had yet to become the force the Ravens drafted him to be. He said Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen was constantly pushing him in practice.
Jernigan started last season hot with a sack in each of the Ravens' first three games, but his play dropped off in the second half of the season. Over the final seven games, he logged just five tackles and zero sacks. Jernigan also had a costly fumble in a loss to the New York Jets after scooping it up near the goal line.
His snap count dipped as the year went on. Jernigan played in 67 percent of the Ravens' defensive snaps in the first half of the season, but just 54 percent of the snaps over the second half, per Pro Football Focus.
The Ravens also have depth at defensive tackle, which will help offset the loss.
Along with Williams, the Ravens are returning rising sophomore Michael Pierce, who was highly impressive as an undrafted rookie last season. Pierce logged 35 tackles and two sacks, and could be in line for a bigger role.
The Ravens also have Carl Davis and Willie Henry. Davis, a third-round pick in 2015, spent last season on injured reserve (leg), but played in 13 games and made 11 tackles as a rookie. Henry, a fourth-round pick last season, didn't see any game action and finished the season on injured reserve.
Baltimore also has 2016 third-round pick Bronson Kaufusi and 2014 fourth-round pick Brent Urban at defensive end. Kaufusi (broken ankle) missed his entire rookie season. Urban was finally healthy last season and logged 10 tackles and two sacks in 16 games.
The Ravens have seven picks in the 2017 NFL Draft:
- First Round (16th)
- Second Round (47th)
- Third Round (74th – from Eagles; trade Timmy Jernigan and 99th pick)
- Third Round (78th)
- Fourth Round (122nd)
- Fifth Round (159th)
- Sixth Round (186th – from 49ers; trade Jeremy Zuttah and 198th pick)