Position Ranking: #2
Strengths: Kerrigan has good size for the position but plays bigger than his measureables. Shows good quickness off his release to get the edge and win the corner. Very smooth once he flattens down to close on the quarterback; bends his shoulder and is able to keep good balance in his pass rush. Has light feet with a good array of pass rush moves, showed an arm & under, rip, swim, lock-out & tug, bull rush, and stays very active with his hand use. Plays with power and flashes explosion; overpowers bigger defenders when he anticipates the snap count. Showed he could drive offensive tackles into the pocket with extended arms, low pad level, and strong leg drive. Consistently split the interior line with a quick first step.
A non-stop motor and gives 110% effort on every snap; chases plays to the opposite side. Has the playing strength to stack the edge in run support against one-on-one blocking and shed to make a play on the ball carrier. Very good instincts; locates the ball and understands blocking schemes, wasn’t easily fooled on screens or misdirection. Sound, wrap-up tackler with very good strength at the point of attack. Showed he could be effective rushing from the stand up position. Voted team captain and MVP. Leaves Purdue with 14 career forced fumbles (Big Ten record), 45 tackles for loss, and 25 sacks.
Needs Improvement: Pad level wasn’t always consistent and released high almost as often has he released cleanly. Doesn’t show the hip flexion to twist, stunt, redirect in space, or quickly apply double moves in his pass rush. Has great functional strength when he engages his core and trunk, but often relies on his upper body strength, needs to consistently use his entire body. Neutralized quickly against double teams. Lateral release isn’t as quick as his straight ahead release. Can take too wide an angle in his upfield rush, pushing himself out of the play. Didn’t show if he could be relied upon in coverage.
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