In this week’s segment of ProFootballWeekly.com’s “Rookie Meter” by Kevin Fishbain, Redskins outside linebacker rises to fourth on the list.
Bear in mind that Kerrigan was selected 16th overall in April’s NFL Draft, and has been surpassed by only one pick lower than him (Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton). In an increasingly pass-happy league, it’s the quarterbacks and the guys that stop the quarterbacks that make the most impact on the game, and Kerrigan has certainly done that for Washington.
The three players in front of him are:
1. Broncos OLB Von Miller (first round, second overall pick)
Last week’s ranking: 1
2. Panthers QB Cam Newton (1, 1)
Last week’s ranking: 2
3. Bengals QB Andy Dalton (2, 35)
Last week’s ranking: 3
Fishbain’s explanation for the rise from No. 6 last week:
4. Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan (1, 16)
Last week’s ranking: 6
Kerrigan notched another sack and two QB hits in Washington’s overtime loss to the Cowboys. He is tied for third among rookies in sacks and is first in forced fumbles. Kerrigan gets the edge over Aldon Smith with his 45 tackles on the season.
Kerrigan has been on a roll, notching at least one sack in each of his last three weeks. If there is such thing as a “rookie wall,” Kerrigan intends to avoid that like a right tackle:
“As far a rookie wall, I dunno, I think that’s all just mental,” he said. “This season is such a grind compared to college. If you look at it, this is the last weekend of college football, and we’ve still got five more games after this weekend. So I guess that’s where you’ll really see where you’re made of, is in the next coming weeks.”
On the current six-game losing streak:
The concern with young players in the NFL is that they often come from successful collegiate and high school programs, and losing at the pro level can be a shock. Not so, for Kerrigan, who experienced win droughts of three games freshman year, five games his sophomore and junior years, and six games to close out his senior year.
“Unfortunately, yes,” he said about knowing the feeling. “I actually lost six in a row to end my Purdue career. Unfortunately, I’ve been here before, but we’ve got the team to right the ship. We’ve got the players to do it–we’ve just gotta do it.”
One of those key players is Kerrigan, who has always performed well, despite his team’s fortunes. During the five-game slide his junior year at Purdue, he had 25 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, four sacks and a forced fumble. During the six-game tumble his senior year, he had 29 tackles, 12 for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles.
During this year’s six-game Redskins streak, he has 30 tackles, four sacks, and two forced fumbles.
Now that is making the most of your situation.
“Nobody likes losing,” he said. “You can’t let it wear on you though. That’s the beauty of football though: you always have another game and another chance to improve. Hopefully we can get it done this week.”