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In honor of Ryan Kerrigan’s announcement as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Month, we’ll take a trip down memory lane to see what brought Mr. Kerrigan to the district.
First, he was the long-haired defensive end at the NFL Combine, who didn’t seem to mind not being the flashiest Draft prospect. He wasn’t heavily touted, but he was heavily scouted by the Redskins:
After a tremendous showing at the Combine, he started rising on NFL Draft boards, both mock and real.
Said Mel Kiper of Kerrigan:
Like him a lot. He almost made my top 25. He’s like my 27th player on the Big Board. Excellent player. Very smart. Very workmanlike. He had a foot injury and appears now to be around 100%. Very athletic. Team leader. I think he’s probably a late 1, early 2.
Draft night was filled with a lot of awkward excitement, as players were welcomed on stage, celebrated, and then joined their teammates in the lockout. Redskins fans got their first look at Kerrigan in the Burgundy and Gold:
Head coach Mike Shanahan said later that night, “He fits into our system very well. He should make the conversion very quickly.”
And he was right.
Todd McShay was even more complimentary of Kerrigan in his ESPN Draft coverage, saying:
And what he’s gonna bring is toughness, a great motor, just an overall physical nature to his game. And I love his production. He averaged 64 tackles, 19 tackles for loss and 11 sacks the past 3 year at Purdue. This guy’s ready to play right away for the Redskins.
And he was right.
After a brief knee injury at the beginning of training camp, he was plugged into the starting defense immediately in the preseason, and hasn’t let up since. His “Welcome to the NFL” moment occurred in Week 1 against Eli Manning and the Giants:
All told in his first NFL month: 13 tackles (five solo), five quarterback pressures, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, two passes defensed and one interception returned for a touchdown in three starts.
What a way to begin a pro career. Many congratulations to you, Ryan. Redskins Nation is looking forward to seeing you in Burgundy and Gold for many, many months to come.