Once the Chicago Bears 2013 season ended, all eyes turned to 2014 and the NFL Draft. General manager Phil Emery has stated firmly that he will be focusing heavily on the defense, which is not surprising considering the dumpster fire that we witnessed this season.
Taking a look at three different mock drafts, one name comes up each time for the Bears, aligning with Emery's stated focus: DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State.
Jernigan is 6'2, 298 pounds, and CBS Sports has this nugget of info on him:
He shows "smooth hips and fluid lateral range to work up and down the line of scrimmage," NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler wrote in evaluating Jernigan. "He does a nice job using his hands and footwork to sidestep blockers and collapse gaps, and has active hands and the upper-body strength to bully blockers. Jernigan also shows improved ball awareness and can anchor against multiple blocks.
Jernigan was a full-time starter for the first time in 2013, finishing with 63 tackles and 4.5 sacks to earn second-team Associated Press All-America honors.
"Timmy was one of the leaders on our defense and a big part of our success these past three seasons," (Jimbo) Fisher said. "He was one of the most dominant defensive lineman I've been around in all my years coaching. Not only was he a dynamic football player, but he was also a great person. We expect Timmy to be very successful at the next level and we wish him the best."
Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock of the year, and has the Bears taking Jernigan.
#14- Chicago Bears- Timmy Jernigan - DT - Florida St.
Analysis: This would be a dream scenario for the Bears, who were repeatedly gashed by the run down the stretch in 2013 due to a lack of interior defenders. They even had to move undersized 4-3 defensive ends inside. Jernigan is an active run-stuffer, a player who disrupts the run game with penetration due to unusual quickness for his size, and with leverage and violent hands that make him hard to move. He'd come in and help Chicago rebuild that interior rotation.
Also selecting Jernigan for the Bears is Daniel Jeremiah (LINK) and Bucky Brooks (LINK).
Of course, a lot will change between now and the actual draft this Spring, but for right now, we have a solid name to keep an eye on.
What would be your thoughts on the Bears drafting Timmy Jernigan?