Earlier in the week I listed five senior prospects I was going to be focusing on for the opening weekend of college football action. Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan was among them, but quite honestly, I did not expect to list him here as the Prospect of the Week.
Some will argue that "Player of the Week" is a misnomer. I don't pretend that I've already scouted every prospect throughout the country and that my choice (Kerrigan, in this case) was the best. It isn't that Kerrigan was so dominant that he deserves attention over, say, Christian Ponder (who threw four touchdowns in only a half of action) or Boise State wideout Austin Pettis (who blocked a kick and caught two touchdowns, including the game-winner, over Virginia Tech). However, part of the coverage that we, at NFLDraftScout.com, have provided to our readers as part of our Draft Slant feature, is a Player of the Week. In picking one out each week, I tend to focus on Top 50 prospects for this honor and adhere to certain guidelines in terms of the level of competition the player faced.
Player of the Week, along with The Diamond in the Rough (small school prospect), used to be features of Draft Slant. This PDF file can be purchased as an individual issue or one can purchase the entire year (16 issues). Or, if you just want to see an example, you can download this free sample of Week One here.
We thought that the Player of the Week and Diamond in the Rough deserved more acknowledgement, however, and thus, each Monday/ (in this case Tuesday), I'll post the name and rationale for those players here on the blog.
Player of the Week - September 4, 2010
DE Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue 6-4 / 263 / 4.82 -- opponent: Notre Dame
With Brian Kelly bringing an even higher tempo offense to Notre Dame than Charlie Weis' there was reason to think Kerrigan, who finished 3rd in the country last year with 13 sacks, might be contained. Instead, he led the Boilermakers with 7 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Kerrigan lined up most of the game at his typical left defensive end position in the 4-3 alignment, but he was also moved to the right side. From either spot, he was consistently pushing the pocket. Kerrigan has good burst off the snap and accelerates throughout his rush. He doesn't have elite flexibility, but can dip his shoulder, rip through the tackle's out-stretched arms, and turn the corner. Good hand technique, overall. Quick hands and good hand-eye coordination to knock the ball away. Forced 7 fumbles in 2010 and, despite still being blocked by RT, knocked the ball out of Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist's hand for a fumble in the first quarter. Good size and leg drive for the bull rush. At least effective upper body strength, but can get locked up. With greater explosiveness, he could improve his club, hip toss techniques. Works hard to keep contain and generally has enough size and strength to set the edge. Lacks the bulk and power to consistently hold up to double-teams, however. Instinctive. Locates the ball quickly and pursues with passion.