New York Giants Draft Breakdown: Jerrel Jernigan


In an interview with Lance Zierlein, of the ZReport and SidelineView, Zierlein said he believed Jernigan was one of the most underrated players in the draft. “Underrated would include Troy WR Jerrel Jernigan who is tough as nails and a big-time player with the ball in his hands”.  The Giants drafted this tough as nails player in the third round. Was it a good move or a bad move?

The Good

Jernigan has exceptional speed and was clocked at 4.38 and 4.32 in the 40 yard dash Troys  Pro Day. A 4.32 yard 40 yard dash is faster than what DeSean Jackson ran at the combine (but a notch slower than what Jackson ran at his pro-day). The point is, Jernigan instantly becomes the most explosive straight-line speed player on the New York Giants, and it’s not even that close.  Jernigan was very productive player in college, he’s the Sun Belt’s all time leading receiver with 3,128 yards receiving, 262 receptions, and 5,971 yards receiving. Jernigan was very productive in college even though he did not play in a great conference, Troy has put many talented players into the N.F.L. (DeMarcus Ware, Osi Umeinyora, and Leodis McKevlin are three that come to mind).

Jernigan is a player that can make an impact in a game in a variety of different ways: whether it be rushing the ball, receiving, returning punts And kickoffs, or even throwing passes on occasion. In 2010, Jernigan played vs two different ranked opponents: Oklahoma State and South Carolina. Both contests were games  he made a tangible impact in.

@Oklahoma State Jernigan had 10 receptions for 87 yards a touchdown. 3 Kick Returns for 171 yards and a touchdown. 2 rushes for 8 yards, and 1 punt return for 11 yards. (277 all purpose yards and two touchdowns)

@South Carolina Jernigan 6 receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown, 3 punt returns for 42 yards, 1 rush for -1 yard, and 4 Kick returns for 72 yards (143 all purpose yards and a touchdown).

Jernigan was also considered a “value” pick because he was considered as a likely second round pick and was taken in the mid third round. But, he also fills a Need for the New York Giants, who are desperate for help in the return game and who are looking for insurance at the slot receiver position because Steve Smith is still hurt, and may not be ready at the start of next season. If that’s the case Mario Manningham becomes the #2 Wide Receiver.

The Bad

Jernigan is not the most durable player in the draft, which can be attributed to his size. He’s missed time here and there due to a variety of minor injuries. He’s also not a red-zone threat, and he is not a great route runner, but he has the explosive ability and fluid hips to become a good route runner if he puts in the work. Jernigan is also a nuisance blocker  more so than he is a good blocker.

The Grade

A. I like this pick a lot. Even though the Giants “need” offensive linemen and linebackers, Jernigan was not a pure luxury pick. Worse than the offensive line last year, was the complete abomination that was the New York Giants “Special” (and not in a good way) teams. The Giants were one of, if not the worst, return teams in the league last year at both punt returns and kick returns. The only player on the Giants with any kind of return ability is Domenik Hixon, but Hixon is coming off a major knee injury, which can be an impossible obstacle to overcome for players who are reliant on speed. Hixon can also be a free agent and may not have been back with the team whether or not the Giants drafted Jernigan.

Jernigan also brings a different dimension to the team that they lack which is a speed threat. The Giants have talented wide receivers, but all of their wide receivers are more shifty than they are fast.

Jernigan was excellent value in round three, the only players that were higher on our consensus big board (which is a collaboration of all the big boards of our writers) was Sam Acho and Christian Ballard.  Though Giants fans may have been happier with Mason Foster, or an OL like Jah Reid at the time of the pick, the fact that the Giants were able to get Greg Jones late in the draft eases the pain of missing out on Foster.

In a game that is evolving more and more to benefit players with excellent speed who can do damage in the open field, Jernigan’s size is much less a negative than it would have been in an era ago.

My thoughts on Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin. James Brewer pick analysis coming in the next couple of days.

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