Kerrigan is exactly the type of football player that every defensive coach wants on their team. Consistent in all aspects of his game, Kerrigan has shown to be a hard worker on and off the field. For two years, Kerrigan ranked near the top of the nation in sacks, forced fumbles and tackles for a loss. The production is hard to ignore but Kerrigan hasn’t been exactly a ‘game-changing’ player. He may be the type of player that is very good at everything, but great at nothing, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Kerrigan is a high motor, high effort guy that is willing to do whatever his team needs him to do. I believe he projects as a 4-3 defensive end, but also shows the ability to play the rush linebacker role in a 3-4 defense. His time at Purdue didn’t give him the opportunity to drop into coverage but he showed at the combine that he has the sneaky athleticism to drop when needed. Kerrigan is at his best with his hand on the ground, rushing the passer. The combination of high level production, consistency, work ethic and clean character make him an easy 1st round pick. If there weren’t so many freakishly athletic pass rushers available in this year’s draft, Kerrigan would probably be taken 10-15 spots earlier than he’ll be selected in April. I fully expect Kerrigan to go as high as the middle part of round one, but more than likely, he’ll be a late first round selection.
Kerrigan plays with a high motor and does a great job pursuing the ball carrier. He’ll trail the flow in the backfield and chase down ball carriers from behind. He possesses a strong upper and lower body and usually plays with a strong base against run blocks. Kerrigan does have a tendency to stop his feet while fighting against run blocks and can be overwhelmed by a double team. There were also times on the tape where Kerrigan plays with a narrow base, allowing a double team block to take him to the ground. Kerrigan utilizes his speed well but it has worked against him at times, over-running draw plays. However, he did an excellent job staying home against option QBs, reading inside play action and reacting to the ball. Kerrigan knows how to use his hands while flowing down the line, showing the ability to stretch the line of scrimmage and set the edge, forcing runners back inside. Once he identifies the ball carrier, he shows excellent burst and closing speed while in pursuit.
There’s not a lot of film of Kerrigan in coverage. However, Kerrigan took the opportunity at the NFL Scouting Combine to show his athleticism in this area. He’s not the most fluid athlete in space but possesses the change of direction ability and awareness to drop into zone coverage. This is certainly an area that Kerrigan will need to develop if an NFL team wants to use him as a 3-4 OLB, but Kerrigan has a proven work ethic and is dedicated to football.
Rushing the passer is the bread and butter for Kerrigan. He possesses an above average first step and is at his best when running the arc, using a strong rip move and chasing the quarterback. Kerrigan made his living in the backfield while at Purdue. He does a nice job anticipating snap count and seems to have a tireless motor. Kerrigan bounced back and forth between left and right end, but probably did the most damage going against right tackles. However, the Purdue defense did utilize a series of stunts that allowed Kerrigan to shoot the A and B gaps and he showed the quickness and athletic ability to be effective when stunting. Kerrigan doesn’t possess a full array of pass rush moves, so he’s still developing in this area. Kerrigan’s pass rush tools include a rip/dip, bull rush, push/pull and a relatively decent spin move. He seemed the most comfortable using an outside speed rush but is savvy, knowing how to use that to set up blockers for an inside cut. Kerrigan can get stuck in stalemates and needs to do a better job of countering when the blocker gets the initial advantage. Consistently collapses the pocket when using his bull rush but can also consistently force the QB to step up in the pocket when using his outside rush. Almost always chops at the ball when getting to the quarterback, which has led to forcing multiple fumbles throughout his career.
Kerrigan is a fundamentally sound tackler and shows good initial pop on contact. He hasn’t necessarily delivered many violent blows to quarterbacks during sacks but usually goes for the strip. Kerrigan has the strength to take on any ball carrier and effectively wraps up when tackling. He’s also made his share of shoestring tackles when in pursuit.
Hand Placement & Usage
Kerrigan usually does a nice job using his hands to keep blockers away from his body, but can get inconsistent in this area during run plays and especially when being double-teamed. His hands aren’t as active as some other defensive ends but they appear strong on film. Kerrigan needs to get better using his hands to counter when stuck in a stalemate with the blocker and his overall hand usage has room for improvement.
Instincts & Awareness
Kerrigan possesses above average instincts for the defensive end position. There have been times when he’s been over-aggressive and has run past plays in the backfield, specifically on draw plays. Kerrigan has also had his share of times when he’s locked onto the QB, not realizing that he’s been allowed free passage for a screen pass. However, Kerrigan consistently did a solid job against option teams, stuck to his assignment and made the play. He does an excellent job of keeping his head up and his eyes open and appears to find the ball quickly.
It’s hard to get a full feel for Kerrigan in this department since there were limited times to see him in space while at Purdue. However, he showed above average change of direction ability when he finds the ball in the backfield. Kerrigan appears to be a bit tight in the hips and can play with a narrow base at times, so the transition to 3-4 OLB in the NFL will take some time if asked to be more of a complete linebacker and not just a situational pass rusher at first. Kerrigan has been able to make up for some of the athleticism he lacks by having such a high motor and a “never give up” attitude.
Kerrigan is a football coach’s dream. Coachable, hard working, clean on and off the field, he’s always done whatever the team has asked him to do. Reportedly well liked by coaches and teammates, Kerrigan was awarded Purdue’s “Pit Bull Award” in 2009, which was given to the player that exemplified and displayed tenacity and tough play. Kerrigan’s father played football for Ball State.
2010: Started in all 12 games. Led FBS in tackles for loss, 2nd in forced fumbles and third in sacks. Led Big 10 in all three categories.
2009: Started in all 12 games. Led nation in forced fumbles, 3rd in nation in sacks. Led Big 10 in sacks.
2008: Appeared in all 12 games with 11 starts. Missed start in opening game due to sprained ankle.
2007: Played in 12 games.
Education major at Purdue. Three time Academic All-Big 10.
Awards & Honors
2010: Unanimous 1st team All-American (1st in Purdue history). Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year (coaches, media). Big 10 Defensive Lineman of the Year (coaches). 1st team All-Big 10 (coaches, media). Academic All-Big 10. Hendricks Award finalist. Team Defensive MVP.
2009: 2nd team All-American (multiple media outlets). 1st team All-Big 10 (media). 2nd team All-Big 10 (coaches). 2nd team Academic All-American. Team Defensive MVP.
2008: Honorable Mention All-Big 10 (media). Academic All-Big 10.
Prospect Video Clips
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