Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan has a chance to make a splash next season. Haloti Ngata has been traded. The Ravens need younger playmakers to emerge along the defensive line.
Enter Jernigan, who is expected to earn a starting job during training camp. Kevin Patra of NFL.com has targeted Jernigan as a player who will make a major leap in 2015.
Jernigan would agree. He told me after last season that he expected to make the Pro Bowl - soon. Jernigan respected Ngata and learned from him. But Jernigan is also relishing the opportunity for a bigger role.
Jernigan isn’t cocky, but he’s confident. What he’ll need to be is more consistent. With his quickness and strength, he’ll make splash plays, like dropping running back in the backfield and chasing down quarterbacks for sacks. But will Jernigan be more disciplined defending the run, like defensive line teammate Brandon Williams? Will Jernigan be more durable and avoid nagging injuries that caused him to miss five games last season
With Ngata and linebacker Pernell McPhee (Bears) gone, the Ravens are minus two defensive stalwarts from last season. They’re counting on Jernigan to help pick up the slack.
In 2014, Jernigan showed his potential. When training camp begins, Jernigan’s job will be to prove he’s ready for more.
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