In the third round, the Giants drafted 5'8 Troy WR Jerrel Jernigan to add some team speed to the Giants offense. Jernigan seems like the ideal slot WR and also should play a big role in special teams. We take a closer look at how this speedy WR may help the Giants in 2011!
College Career:Jernigan was a versatile and productive player at Troy. He played in 50 games with 37 starts and caught 262 passes for 3,128 yards (11.9-yard avg.) and 18 touchdowns. Jernigan carried the ball 132 times for 892 yards (6.8-yard avg.) and five scores. He also completed seven-of-10 passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns. Jernigan was just as lethal on special teams. He returned 67 kickoffs for 1,580 yards (23.4-yard avg.) and one score and ran back 29 punts for 372 yards (12.8-yard avg.) and a touchdown. Jernigan amassed a school and Sun Belt Conference-record 5,972 all-purpose yards and totaled 25 touchdowns on 490 touches and averaged 119.4 yards a game. He broke the previous school record of 215 receptions for 2,907 yards by Danny Grant (1966-69). Jernigan's 84 catches as a senior broke his own Troy single-season record of 77 catches, set in 2008, and his 71 catches in 2009 rank fourth on the school's record list. Jernigan also broke the previous conference records of 229 catches by Casey Fitzgerald of North Texas (2005-08) and 2,718 yards by Johnny Quinn of North Texas (2003-06).
Strengths:Jernigan is a jack-of-all-trades who can help the Giants as a receiver, occasional runner and as a return man. He might even throw a pass on a gadget play. Jernigan is fast and elusive and appears to possess the big-play potential the Giants have craved for so many years.
How He Fits In:How about as well as the Giants' two other products from Troy, Osi Umenyiora and Lawrence Tynes? Or other Troy players in the NFL, such as DeMarcus Ware (Dallas), Leodis McKelvin (Buffalo) and Sherrod Martin (Carolina)? Jernigan's first opportunity to contribute will likely be on special teams. The Giants were 31st in the NFL in both punt and kickoff returns in 2010 and Jernigan has the potential to sharply increase those rankings. He'll get a long look at receiver, where he'll join returnees Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. His playing time could be affected by the availability of Steve Smith, who had knee surgery last December and is a potential free agent.
Personal:Jernigan was a dual-threat quarterback at Eufaula (Ala.) High School, where he guided the team to 14-1 and 11-1 records during his final two seasons, when the squad captured the Class 5A Region II titles both campaigns and the Class 5A state title in 2006. As a junior, Jernigan was named to the All-District and All-Area teams. In his final season, he was chosen All-Area, All-District and All-State first-team. Jernigan also lettered with the Tigers' basketball and baseball teams. He was a criminal justice major at Troy.
The Quote:"(We like) his versatility. He's a little guy, but he's extremely fast. He's versatile. He's a wildcat quarterback, slot receiver, returns punts, returns kicks. (Jernigan) was a) high school quarterback. You love those types of guys. A great feel for the game. A great personality. A nice kid who's going to add some speed to our team on offense and special teams." – Director of College Scouting Marc Ross