Acceleration: Has elite acceleration ability. Can go from zero to sixty with the ball in his hands. Uses his rare ability to run away from defenders on offense and in special teams play. Makes a ton of plays after the catch.
Agility: Is agile enough to make defenders miss- both at the line and in the open field. Has the flexibility to sink his hips and accelerate or change direction in his routes or with the ball.
Blocking: Is pretty inconsistent here. Sometimes he will be willing to throw a downfield block and other times he looks uninterested. Must get better technically and also become more interested in blocking.
Hands: Does a really good job looking the ball in. Extends his arms and uses his hands to get the ball. Does not let the ball get inside his body. Is strong enough to catch the ball in traffic. Shows good hands in the return game.
Release: Has gotten stronger throughout his career, which has led to a better release from the line. Is stronger than most realize, especially for his size. Can get held up at the line of scrimmage if jammed. Good lateral agility to elude the jam at the snap. Has enough speed and burst to press the defender off the snap.
Route running: Is an average route runner. Has never been forced to get better in this area, as the Troy offense allowed him to freelance a lot. Will round off his routes. Can get lazy as he has not faced to cornerbacks, so he has never been forced to get better. Played in a basic offensive system that did not ask him to learn a full passing tree.
Size: Undersized at just 5’9″ and 190lbs. Could struggle to separate from NFL defenders and may be over-powered at the line of scrimmage and in passing routes. Many receivers of similar size have done well enough for this to be an afterthought.
Speed: Able to create separation from defenders with his raw speed and agility. Is an elite playmaker with the ball in his hands. Has incredible run-after-catch ability.
Final word: For teams who need a wide receiver and/or return man in the second round (that’s you, Atlanta) they must look at Jerrel Jernigan.
No player in this draft has the ability to make plays as a return man and receiver as Jernigan. He’s an underrated talent who is getting noticed more as the draft nears.
Jernigan had some problems qualifying academically at Troy and there are some concerns that he will struggle to learn an NFL playbook.
Bottom line: Jernigan has elite skills. He’s reminiscent of DeSean Jackson.