Monday, May 12, 2014
Ravens don't feel Jernigan is a risky pick
By Jamison Hensley
There wasn't much debate when the Baltimore Ravens were on the clock in the second round. Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan was the No. 2 prospect on their board when the round began, and he was the highest-ranked player when it was pick No. 48.
Jernigan, a first-round talent, believes he lasted to the middle of the second round because of what he called "the incident." He was flagged at the NFL combine for providing a diluted urine sample for a drug test, which is regarded as a failed test under the league's drug-testing program. (An NFL spokesman said there are some different and additional rules on how the league addresses the matter.)
Ravens officials said there was a confidence level in taking Jernigan that high because they did their homework on him.
After doing their homework, the Ravens felt confident on spending a second-round pick on Timmy Jernigan.
"Our scouts do a very good job with their sources at the school about, 'Was there any history there?'" general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "And I have spoken with the league based on what happens when someone does have a dilution at the combine. So, we were very comfortable in taking him, and his story and the information that we got from our sources there and information I got from the league."
Diluted tests can be a sign of masking drugs in your body. Jernigan blamed the disputed result on weight loss. He dropped 15 pounds in a matter of two weeks following the college football season, which caused him to cramp.
His nutritionist told him to start drinking more water and she put salt in his Gatorade to help prevent cramping, according to Jernigan. He also said he was on an IV the week leading up to the NFL combine.
"I feel like that was the reason for the diluted test," Jernigan said. "And when I got the information from the NFL saying that I had a diluted test, I reached out to the doctors. I called two days back-to-back, and I never got a response back from anyone. [I was] just trying to figure out what was going on and if something was found in my urine test. What was it? I never got any answers. And then this week all of this madness just started. It's just crazy."
Jernigan was the fourth defensive tackle taken in the draft behind Aaron Donald (13th overall), Dominique Easley (No. 29) and Ra'Shede Hageman (No. 37). This could be a great value for the Ravens if Jernigan can bring that same bullish strength to the NFL.
With defensive tackle Haloti Ngata reportedly turning down an extension, the Ravens needed to make sure they have quality depth on the interior of the defensive line. It may only be a year or two before the Ravens' starting inside tandem is Jernigan and Brandon Williams, a third-round pick from a year ago.
Jernigan acknowledged that he was surprised that the Ravens picked him. He didn't have much contact with the Ravens beyond a meeting at the combine.
"I definitely have a chip on my shoulder, and I'm glad the Baltimore Ravens drafted me -- to be able to play on a great defense," Jernigan said. "And the Ravens definitely play with a swagger. They play football the way that I play football. I feel like I'm the perfect match, and I'm definitely going to bring another edge to the defense."