Meet the Prospects: Ryan Kerrigan

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — Yes. The official JetsInsider.com’s Meet the Prospects segment is back by popular demand.

As we grow closer and closer to draft day, it becomes clear that some picks mentioned earlier are not as solid as others (sorry Rahim Moore). Purdue’s standout defensive end has been listed as ‘very high’ on the Jets’ wish list in 2011. A surefire first round pick, Kerrigan looks to be going in the mid-to-early picks within the first round. With the Jets holding the 30th overall selection, it would more than likely require a trade to acquire his services.

A three-year starter for the Boilermakers, Kerrigan is second all-time in career sacks (33.5), fifth all-time in career tackles for loss (57.0) and is tied for Football Bowl Subdivision’s all-time lead in forced fumbles (14). Certainly those are some gaudy numbers. However with the talent still on the board at the DE/OLB position, trading picks to get him may be detrimental to the rest of their draft plans.

Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue:

  • CLASS STANDING: Senior
  • HEIGHT: 6-4
  • WEIGHT: 263
  • NFL COMPARISON: Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings

Collegiate Career: Ryan Kerrigan Career Purdue Highlights

  • 2010 — Started all 12 games for the Boilermakers; Team co-captain; Received team’s Most Valuable Player Award for defense; First unanimous All-American at Purdue since 1980; Named first team All-America by the American Football Coaches Association, The Walter Camp Football Foundation, the Football Writers Association of America, the Associated Press and The Sporting News, SI.com first team All-American, Rivals.com first team All-American, Collegefootballnews.com first team All-American; Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year; Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year; First team All-Big Ten; Academic All-Big Ten; Led the Football Bowl Subdivision in tackles for loss in the regular season (26.0), tied for second in fumbles forced (5), third in the FBS in sacks (12.5); Had at least one sack in nine of 12 games, one TFL in 11 of 12 and multiple TFLs in eight games; His 70 total tackles were a career high and the most by a defensive lineman in the Big Ten during the regular season.
  • 2009 — Started all 12 games; Received team’s Pit Bull Award – Defense (exemplified and sustained tenacity and intense play) for spring practice … named to Ted Hendricks Award watch list (nation’s outstanding defensive end); second team All-American by Rivals.com, honorable mention All-American by College Football Insiders and SI.com, first team All-Big Ten by media and second team by coaches, second team Academic All-American, Academic All-District V and Academic All-Big Ten and team’s Most Valuable Player Award for defense. Led nation with school-record-tying seven forced fumbles; Seven forced fumbles are second-most in Big Ten history; Topped Big Ten and ranked third nationally with 13.0 sacks; Ranked fourth in Big Ten with 18.5 tackles for loss; Fourth on team with 66 tackles (41 solo, 25 assists).
  • 2008 — Started 11 out of 12 games. Honorable mention All-Big Ten by media; Academic All-Big Ten and Academic All-District V, Ranked seventh in Big Ten in sacks (7.0) and 10th in tackles for loss (11.5) — topped team in both categories; Shared team lead with two forced fumbles and ranked tied for 10th in Big Ten; Ranked fourth with 56 tackles (31 solo, 25 assists); Had four pass breakups and one interception.
  • 2007 — Appeared in 12 games; Had 18 tackles (12 solo, 6 assists), including 1.0 sack.

Shaun Ellis has been a model example of how to "play like a Jet". But his age is a concern. Could Kerrigan be his heir apparent? (JetsInsider.com Photo.)

Strengths:

  • Relentless motor
  • Uncanny knack for forcing fumbles
  • Has a good variety of pass moves
  • Reads plays quickly

Weaknesses:

  • May be too small to play DE in some systems — which is less of a worry as Rex Ryan may decide to convert him to an OLB.
  • Little experience dropping into coverage — which is more of a worry as Ryan may decide to convert him to an OLB.
  • Needs to improve straight-line closing speed.
  • Needs to bulk up — particularly in the lower body where he will be facing larger offensive linemen.

Why the Jets?:

  • By now, it’s been well documented that the Jets are looking for a player who can wreak havoc in the backfield from the edge and Kerrigan is amongst the best in the nation at that.
  • They’ve neglected the “conversion end” position since drafting Vernon Gholston 6th overall in 2009 and the glaring need for one was exposed this past year.
  • Kerrigan’s relentless motor and knack for creating turnover’s is something that Ryan loves in a defensive player. Plus, he’s proven — having two outstanding years for the Boilermakers.

In his own words:

  • “I’ve really been trying to improve at linebacker stuff and fine-tune the defensive line stuff. The more you can do, the more valuable you are.”
  • “Our motto at Purdue was it’s not enough just to get the sack or get the tackle, but you wanted to force a fumble and get the ball back for your offense.”

3 Responses to “Meet the Prospects: Ryan Kerrigan”

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