Timmy Jernigan or Ra’Shede Hageman for the Dallas Cowboys?


Sep 21, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers defensive lineman Ra

This week I mocked the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. It was Monday morning before free agency began so it is quickly becoming outdated. But one pick that’s not entirely outdated is the Dallas Cowboys first pick: Timmy Jernigan

I received an email and some comments questioning the pick of Jernigan at #16. I discussed it with them and figured I’d open the discussion up to everyone. Let’s address it today in our mailbag.

Albert asks,

"Why is everyone saying that Jernigan is the Cowboys pick has it not been found by the people in the know that he’s not a 3 but 1 and only a 1 technique DT… why not Hageman, in a trade down scenario where we pick up a pick & get a chance to replace a Hatcher."

Alex also asked about Hageman,

"Now I understand Hageman is said to have motor issues but I haven’t seen anything negative on him other than that. 6’6/300+ and athletic. They say he can play end in some packages as well which with the release of Ware would seem like the preferable of the 2 versatile players."

In my ideal world, Aaron Donald would slip past the Bears, and the Cowboys could take a crack at him. But drafts rarely work out ideally as was the case in this mock.

Nov 23, 2013; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (8) during a play in the first half against the Idaho Vandals at Doak Campbell Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

In this draft Donald was gone so I have the Cowboys picking Jernigan. I mention trade possibilities in my mock drafts but I don’t mock trade.

I hear what you are saying about Jernigan being a 1-tech. By looking at his physical stature I agree he is best suited for a 1, but after watching a couple games and his workout, I feel he could be a game-changing 3 tech also. He has quickness and power. He can take on extra blockers like a 1 or shoot a gap like a 3. He doesn’t fit the mold but I think he could possibly break the mold. He offers position versatility at both spots (and the Cowboys happen to need help at both spots) so even if it doesn’t work out at the 3, he could easily play the 1. I’m not exactly sure what other mock drafters are basing it on but that’s what I’m looking at.

I don’t officially project trades but I did discuss the idea of it. Unless the right guy falls, I expect the Cowboys to trade back again. I don’t like Hageman at #16 but I’d be happy to move back, collect an extra 3rd, and get him a little later. If Ealy, Hageman, Clinton-Dix are all available at #16, it might be a good move to go back because you can feel better about the possibility of one of them falling to you. I predict another run on OTs this year and Dallas may be sitting at a critical spot and able to get great value for the pick.

Hageman is an exciting talent and someone Cowboy Nation has fully embraced. I mean – he has a hell of a cult following! It seems everyone loves him or Aaron Donald at this point. He has as high of a ceiling as anyone not named Clowney and could turn out to be the steal of the first round. But DTs are notorious for being lazy and subsequently becoming underachievers in the NFL. Bust rates are high for DTs (I’ll be doing articles about bust rates soon). For that reason I ding Hageman considerably for his lack of effort.

Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown (34) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (70) and linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Eagles 38-33. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Albert pointed out that Jernigan is a born 1 technique tackle. He’s right. I’m the one making the leap casting him as a possible 3. But I think he can do it and actually be a guy that could do both, thus causing headaches for opposing offenses.

Hageman could theoretically play DE but not as the blindside rusher. He would fit better in the old Spencer role rather than the Ware role. Everything I see about his personality (speculation on my part) says he is not disciplined enough for that. I only see Hageman as a 3 tech. Which is fine but it’s just not as realistically versatile.

Besides, the Cowboys have two Spencer replacements in George Selvie and Tyrone Crawford already. What they need is a speed rusher to replace Ware’s side.

In Jernigan’s assignments he was usually asked to take on multiple blockers. He was to receive rather than give. When I watched him play I looked for what I thought were his assignments on a given play. It’s speculation and I could have been wrong but I saw him play passively, but effectively as a 1, taking on multiple blockers and still making tackles. I also saw him flip a switch and burst quickly at other times. I believe he was executing assignments rather than picking and choosing when to play. Hageman was always supposed to make plays so I always knew when he was coasting and when he was trying.

It just seems riskier to me to pick Hageman than Jernigan. I would be thrilled to trade back, pick up a 3rd rounder (maybe get safeties Ed Reynolds or Jimmie Ward) and get Hageman later in the first. I just don’t see it yet at #16. I haven’t watched every game so I suppose that stance could change but that’s where I’m at now.

For the record, the prospect of drafting Hageman excites me more than Jernigan or Louis Nix III, but I want an extra pick with the added risk so I can hedge my bets. Much like Dallas did when they traded back last year and hedged their bet by adding a third (Terrence Williams).

Sound off, everyone. Who do you like at #16 for the Cowboys? Should they trade back or sit tight? BPA or target someone they need. Is O-line more pressing or is it Safety (I’ll be profiling both groups shortly)? Let’s hear it!

Do you have questions or comments regarding Dallas area sports? Email Reid at permaximum@hotmail.com. You may be included in the next weekly mailbag. Follow Reid on twitter @ReidDHanson