Sunday, December 19, 2010
NFL Draft Pospect Scouting Report: Jerrel Jernigan
Offensive trends in the NFL are ever changing. We now see more shotgun formations and multiple WR sets than ever before. As such, teams are finding value in WRs that change direction quickly, run good routes, and get yards after the catch. Guys like this (Wes Welker, Davone Bess) turn a high percentage, short pass into gains of 7-15 yards and some even bust them for big plays. This is the kind of player I was hoping to see when I turned on the New Orleans bowl to watch Troy WR Jerrel Jernigan. The things I read in preparation for scouting Jernigan had me thinking that he might just be evolution’s next logical step in wide receiverdom.
Speed: He’s got plenty. He’s not DeSean Jackson or anything like that, but he’s certainly faster than your average receiver. I timed him at 4.46 from the 40 to the goal line in full pads on a QB Power Right run out of the Wildcat. It’s good to know that his stature doesn’t hinder his speed when he’s fully dressed. Lots of these WRS that run good 40 times at the combine can’t carry pads and a helmet and maintain that speed. Jernigan can.
Route Running: This is a difficult thing to scout from watching TV because often times WRs will run out of frame. From what I DID see, his routes aren’t sharp all the time. He’s been able to rely on his physical gifts to get open thus far. He won’t be able to in the NFL. Route running can always be coached, though, as long as Jernigan is receptive to it. So while he’s raw right now, he has tremendous potential in this area.
Hands: He catches the ball with his hands, which sounds like the most obvious thing in the world, but lots of receivers use their bodies to catch the ball, which lead to drops. I counted two occurrences on Saturday when Jernigan looked to turn upfield before he had the catch well secured.
Other: Not a good blocker. Operates very well with the ball in space a la Donte Stallworth. Didn’t have a chance to see him go up for any jump balls. Jernigan average 15 yards per catch his junior year and only 9 yards per catch during his senior campaign. While this would normally be cause for concern, it’s likely due to the absence of QB Levi Brown who graduated after last season and is now in the NFL. May have trouble with press coverage.
Prediction: 2nd maybe 3rd round. Not enough skills to offset his physical limitations and be a #1 WR but should excel in the slot guy and as a weapon on returns.