10/17/2009 – Ohio State at Purdue
From the first play of the game you can tell that this kid has an unrelenting motor. Kerrigan was lined up at LE and Ohio State ran a simple option play away from him on 1st down. Kerrigan ran around the RT and sprinted toward the sideline to tackle Terrelle Pryor at the LOS. That kind of hustle can’t be taught, you either have it, or you don’t. This kid ate his Wheaties today, because the 2nd play of the game was even more impressive. On 2nd down the Buckeyes ran a play-action fake, and Terrelle Pryor was dead to rights. For some reason Ohio State tried to block Kerrigan 1-on-1 with a TE, that was a huge mistake. Kerrigan fired off the ball and attacked the TE’s inside shoulder, the TE was no match. Terrelle Pryor took 2 steps before he was swallowed up by Kerrigan who not only sacked him, but also forced a fumble which was recovered by the Boilermakers. It was an awesome play that displayed his strength and quickness. His overaggressiveness hurt him on Oho State’s next drive. He was lined up at RE this time, and Ohio State ran a dive. Kerrigan shot through the gap, between the LT and the TE, but he over-ran the play which opened up a big run for Brandon Saine. Kerrigan has the strength and tenacity to hold his ground in the run-game, but he missed an opportunity here. Kerrigan abused the RT all day long. His best move is his speed rush. He gets his active hands out in front of him to disengage blockers, while also maintaining speed in his pursuit. He also does a nice job dipping his shoulder to get past the blocker in front of him. Kerrigan’s first step is explosive and consistent. Ohio State started to roll blockers to Kerrigan side in the 2nd half, and in 2 instances he was actually triple teamed. Kerrigan really makes an impact in the run-game, and it’s not always by making the tackle. He really fights to hold his ground, and when he plays gap responsible he is incredibly effective. His over aggressiveness will take him out of plays at times, but he flashes the ability to be a dominant run defender.
- Tremendous motor
- Good size
- Quick first step
- Tough run defender
- Lacks pass-rush variety
- Limited to strong-side DE?
With Robert Quinn, Adrian Clayborn, and Greg Romeus stealing the spotlight Ryan Kerrigan seems to be a forgotten man. Well, he shouldn’t be. His game should immediately translate to the NFL. His unrelenting motor is awesome to watch. He just does not quit on a play until the whistle is blown. Purdue coaches have certainly noticed Kerrigan’s determination on the field. During Purdue’s 2009 Spring Practice, Kerrigan was given the Pit Bull Award, an award given to the defensive player that exemplified and sustained tenacity and intense play. His motor and tenacity have to be his biggest strengths. It allows him to make plays where other players wouldn’t. His backside pursuit is relentless, and that gives him an edge. Kerrigan enjoyed a dominant Junior season where he amassed 11 Sacks, 17 TFLs, and an amazing 6 Forced Fumbles. It was a tremendous campaign. If he can follow that up with a similarly impressive Senior year we may be talking about a potential 1st round pick. He has prototypical size and strength at 6’4, 265 pounds, and his first step is quick for a strong-side DE. He immediately puts OTs at a disadvantage because he fires off of the football so quickly. He is a great against the run when he plays his keys and fundamentals. He has the size and strength to consistently hold his ground and shed blocks in the hole, but at times he gets caught guessing. His over aggressiveness at times takes him out of the play. It’s something that can be avoided, and hopefully it’s something he works on. He also lacks any real pass-rush variety. He has a speed rush and a nice bull rush, but otherwise he doesn’t provide much else. If he implemented a rip move, or a swim move he could become even more dangerous off of the edge. His skill-set doesn’t really lend itself to multiple schemes, either. He seems destined to be a strong-side DE, which may hurt his stock come draft time, but as a strong-side DE he can be very effective. It’s tough not to like this kid when you watch him play. At this point I would give him an early 2nd round grade.