Upon his arrival at the Ravens' training complex in May, rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan expressed a determination to quickly prove himself.

Although there's no contact allowed until training camp, Jernigan already has shown an aggressive personality on the practice field, with a willingness to mix it up that has left an impression with the Ravens' veteran blockers.

Through two organized team activities and a rookie minicamp, Jernigan's quick first step and ability to gain leverage has made him difficult to slow. The 6-foot-1, 302-pound second-round draft pick from Florida State also has gotten into a few scrapes with offensive linemen and engaged in his share of trash talk.

"Jernigan, the young guy, he's flashing a lot," offensive guard Kelechi Osemele said this week. "He's playing fast, especially for being a young gu, and being thrown in there with the [first-teamers] every now and then and it being a new system and everything. He's coming along really well. We really need him to contribute this year, and I think he has the ability to do that."

The Ravens selected Jernigan after losing starting defensive tackle Arthur Jones to the Indianapolis Colts in March when he signed a five-year, $33 million contract.

There's a starting job open on the left side of the defensive line, and Jernigan is among the top candidates along with Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Tyson and Kapron Lewis-Moore. The Ravens also could shift over Pro Bowl nose guard Haloti Ngata and have Williams play nose tackle.

Jernigan is something of a wild card in the competition. Heading into the draft, he was a projected fit in 4-3 defensive schemes; the Ravens run a 3-4 alignment.

But Jernigan's athleticism (4.97 seconds in the 40-yard dash), strength (bench-pressed 225 pounds 27 times) and playmaking skills (139 career tackles, 25 for losses, and 8.5 sacks) could allow him to make an early impact.