Ravens Shore Up Defense by Drafting 2 FSU Stars
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome established an unmistakable pattern in this NFL draft: His first three selections were defensive players from successful, big-name schools.
The Ravens chose Florida State nose tackle Timmy Jernigan in the second round Friday night, less than 24 hours after taking Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley with the 17th overall pick.
“We stacked the board based on where guys played and all the information that we have, and we were just fortunate to get three players that have come out of national championship teams the last two or three years,” Newsome said. “We were just fortunate it happened that way.”
In the third round, Newsome picked one of Jernigan’s teammates on the national champion Seminoles, safety Terrence Brooks.
Newsome finally went after an offensive player with his third-round compensatory pick, nabbing tight end Crockett Gillmore of Colorado State.
“The whole board was stacked for the offense,” Newsome said, “but the way it fell for us was with defensive players.”
Jernigan, selected 48th overall, started only two games in his first two years with Florida State. Last season, however, he started all 14 games and had nine tackles against Auburn in the national championship game.
The 6-foot-2, 299-pounder finished with 63 tackles and 4½ sacks. He was tabbed in some mock drafts as a first-round pick, but his value might have dropped after he had a diluted drug test at the scouting combine.
“I was losing weight very fast, and it was causing me to cramp,” Jernigan said. “So my nutritionist, she wanted me to start drinking a lot more water. Even during my workouts, she would have to put salt in my Gatorade and different things to keep me from cramping.”
After receiving word from the NFL about his diluted drug test, Jernigan tried to get the specifics.
“I never got any answers,” he said. “And then this week all of this madness started. It’s just crazy.”
Newsome said, “We were very comfortable taking him.”
Brooks started 13 games at free safely in 2012 and last season split time between free safety and strong safety. He fills the void left by the departure of safety James Ihedigbo, who signed as a free agent with Detroit.
“He’s a versatile guy and has excellent range in the back end,” said Joe Hortiz, director of college scouting for the Ravens. “
Ideally, the Ravens would move free safety Matt Elam to strong safety and use the 5-11, 198-pound Brooks as the last line of defense.
“I’m really comfortable with those two guys,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “They’re both young, and this is a young man’s game.”
Brooks, the 79th pick overall, said of the Ravens: “I love that team, just how physical they are.”
He can’t wait to team up with Brooks on the Ravens and rekindle the magic they made together at FSU.
“I know we do damage together. We did it at Florida State, we can do it anywhere,” Brooks said. “I’m just real happy to have him with me.”
Baltimore is seeking to improve a defense that finished 12th in the NFL in 2013.
Earlier in the day, the Ravens introduced Mosley at a news conference. The happiest guy in the room might have been defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
“We want to get back to the top on defense, and we think this is the guy right here that can lead us in that direction,” he said, looking at Mosley.
Mosley can’t wait to get to work.
“I’m ready to be a Raven,” he said, “ready to get on the football field and prove to the fans, prove to the coaches, that I’m ready to play and help this team win.”
(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)