2013 Top 25 player countdown: No. 7

January, 29, 2014
No. 7 Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State

Previous ranking: No. 15

[+] EnlargeTimmy Jernigan
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsFSU DT Timmy Jernigan could stop the run or get after the quarterback. He was simply a dominating presence who will be a first-round NFL draft pick.
Making the case for Jernigan: Jernigan proved to be one of the best interior linemen in the country, helping the Florida State defensive front maintain its dominance up front. In 14 starts, Jernigan set career highs for tackles (63), tackles for loss (11.0) and sacks (4.5) and was an All-ACC coaches' first-team selection and ESPN.com All-American.

To truly understand his importance to the defense, turn on game tape of the BCS national championship game against Auburn. Jernigan had nine tackles in that contest, and was a big reason why Florida State was able to slow down the Auburn rushing attack in the second half. When he left the game because of cramps in the fourth quarter, the Tigers took advantage and found lanes that simply weren't there when Jernigan was in the game.

It came as no surprise that Jernigan declared early for the NFL draft and is projected to be a first-round pick in May. ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper describes Jernigan as 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."

The countdown



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