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Potential First Round Options, OLB: Ryan Kerrigan

This week, we have looked at two potential first round options at QB, Georgia’s Justin Houston and UCLA’s Akeem Ayers. Both are vastly different players, as Houston is more of a rusher that can be exposed in coverage, while Ayers is a good cover ‘backer who lacks elite rushing skills. However, Ryan Kerrigan from Purdue is a combination of these two players. While he played DE at Purdue, he has the potential to play either OLB or DE at 267 lbs.

First, I’ll get to what most of you are interested in: his pass-rushing ability. He has a good blend of speed and power. I have seen him use several moves, not just a bull rush; he can do the Dwight Freeney spin, swim inside, and has the ability to win the battle with pure speed against lesser tackles. He also has a terrific motor that plays with intensity and passion - two of the most underrated attributes in my opinion.

Against the run, he is instinctive and does not get blown off the ball. Ryan tackles solidly and can chase down runners. He has just as much of a motor and is just as relentless against the run as he does rushing the passer.

With all of these great attributes, what are the negatives to Kerrigan? There are not many, but durability is somewhat of a concern; he had a broken foot in 2009. Other that that, there is not much to not like about this kid. However, it is always difficult to project what a kid will look like once you stand him up after having his hand in the dirt all the time; he does not have a lot of experience in coverage.

To get Kerrigan, the Jets will have to trade up, which, as many of you know, is not something Mike Tannenbuam is afraid of. What do you think, would you draft Ryan Kerrigan?