Timmy Jernigan speaks at the NFL Combine. Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys hosting Timmy Jernigan

The Dallas Cowboys were able to sign former Chicago Bears star defensive tackle Henry Melton to a one-year deal, and he was one of the steals of free agency. Melton will replace Jason Hatcher’s pass rushing productivity at the defensive tackle position, and he’s an even better interior pass rusher after being arguably the best pass-rushing 4-3 DT in the game before his ACL tear early last season. Even though the Cowboys added Melton, they are still in the market for some more pass rushing help after losing Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware in free agency (George Selvie and Jeremy Mincey are their current starters, which isn’t embarrassing but could stand to improve). With the amount of talent at DT and the lack of good options in the middle of the first round at DE (aside from Missouri’s Kony Ealy, who has an uncertain future role in the league when it comes to scheme fit), the Cowboys are expected to address that need by drafting a DT.

If Aaron Donald is available for the Cowboys in the first round, then I think it’s difficult for them to pass up on a pass rusher of his caliber, as he is an elite talent at getting after the quarterback and is one of the top players in this year’s class. But the Cowboys also want some run-stopping power up the middle, and Donald is an average run-stuffer at best due to his size; he has to rely on instincts and speed to impact the running game. The Cowboys might not have Donald there anyway, so they might have to choose among a group of Ra’Shede Hageman, Timmy Jernigan, and Louis Nix (my personal favorite).

Cowboys beat writer Clarence Hill reports, citing a source, that Jernigan will visit the Cowboys and will be flying in tonight. Jernigan isn’t one of my favorite prospects, and he is inconsistent on tape at Florida State. He only gets penetration quickly off the snap and isn’t as good of a pass rusher as some think. He plays against the run well, but I would rather have Nix and honestly view Jenrigan as more of a high second-round pick rather than a mid first-round choice. However, Jernigan isn’t out of the question for the Cowboys in the first, especially if they like him the most after all of their research. I don’t think that will be the case, but it’s good to see that they are taking a close look at one of the top DTs in the class.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys Florida State Seminoles Football NFL Draft Timmy Jernigan

  • David

    Both Nix and Jernigan would be 1 tech’s and not great picks in the 1st round. I will really be pissed if they do not get a 3 to 4 down player in the 1st round unless they trade back quite a bit. They have to many needs at Safety, LB, OT, OG and DE athough I think the round to grab a DE is in the 2nd round unless Barr fell to them.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      I think both of these guys can be three-down DTs in this league, but Jernigan doesn’t seem good enough to take at 16. I would strongly consider Nix, but you have to think that Clinton-Dix would be the best pick there if he slides outside the top 15. Mosley would be the pick at LB, but I’m not sure they need another Lee-type guy, unless if they really want to stack things up there. Mosley’s coverage ability makes him a really good all-around guy, and I think his talent offsets the medical concerns and the devaluation of the ILB/MLB position on draft day. The Cowboys can go in so many directions, and I think their best bet is to try and get as many talented players on defense as possible. They need talent in any way, shape, or form on D, but safety has to be their biggest need at this point. I also completely agree that it’s better for the Cowboys to wait on a DE, because the options at 16 aren’t going to be too enticing.

      • David

        Neither Nix or Jernigan will be 3 down players. Marinelli has already said he wants an 8 to 9 guy rotation.