Once a week SBNation.com releases their 2011 NFL Mock Draft and the picks for the Jacksonville Jaguars really haven't varied all that much. It's usually been a quarterback or a defensive lineman, which makes all the sense in the world. So who do they have for the Jaguars pick right now?
16. Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE, Purdue. Over the past three drafts, Jags GM Gene Smith has spent seven draft picks trying to re-tool his defensive line. That process has yielded some results, but end remains an issue. Kerrigan is the type of blue-collar, high-motor guy that Jacksonville values highly.
Good ol' Ryan Kerrigan, whos seems to be this year's C.J. Spiller for me. My mortal mock draft pick enemy. Click the jump and I'll explain in detail why I'm not a huge fan of Kerrigan, but I'll also drop a nugget that makes him make a little bit more sense.
Now, I won't disagree Kerrigan is a blue-collar and high-motor type of player that would fit well on the Jaguars and would likely lend himself to being a fan favorite, kind of like Aaron Kampman. However, I think the comparisons between the two players stops there. In the comments of a FanPost by Mullayo called Cam Jordan Vs Ryan Kerrigan, I explained a bit why I'm not really a big fan of Kerrigan's:
Here’s my thing on Ryan Kerrigan: His sack totals are a lie. I was doing some research and watching some games the other night and noticed what I’ve always noticed with Kerrigan – his sacks come in bunches. This is both good and bad.
Kerrigan had 31.5 sacks in his career, which looks fantastic. Except when you notice that 12.5 of those 31.5 sacks (40%) came in just four games. In 2010 he had 4 sacks against Michigan and 4.5 in the first four games against cupcakes. So in 5 games he netted 8.5 of his 11 sacks. That means in the other 7 games of the season, he netted just 3 sacks total. To me, that's not consistency, of which Kerrigan's always credited with.
Brian Galiford (of BuffaloRumblings.com) discussed Kerrigan on twitter when he released the mock, and Brian did point out that the sacks in bunches is true for quite a bit of defensive ends coming to the NFL. He noted that Kerrigan reminded him of former Buffalo Bill Aaron Schobel. I agree to an extent with Brian about the sacks in bunches, but I don't recall very many who had close to half of their career sack total in 4 games.
I watched every Kerrigan snap played against Northwestern the other night and he primarily lined up at LDE so he could rush against the RT. Every time he lined up at RDE he would either try to run around the LT and he would just get ran wide past the QB, or he would bullrush and just get knocked to the ground when the guard would assist. Ewdtrey made a perfect comment about this, noting that both Cameron Jordan and Ryan Kerrigan run on train tracks, which means they both get knocked down easily if they're bumped off of their rush path. He beat the right tackle, but the right tackle on NU was horrible and just basically a grabber. His only sack in the game came from running wide around the left tackle and came back up while the QB was holding the ball pump faking. I’ve noticed a lot of his sacks are from the second attempt and the QB holding the ball, not from his initial burst off the line of scrimmage and simply beating a lineman. Again, this is both good and bad.
I like Ryan Kerrigan a lot more as a stand up pass rusher at the NFL level. I think starting without his hand on the ground will help him go against NFL caliber tackles. While he's short area quickness and change of direction skills aren't fantastic, I think he's athletic enough to get by. Clay Matthews had the same issues to work out when he went to the NFL. So, why do I feel more comfortable about him in that regard with the Jaguars?
Well, Eric Garko of OptimumScouting.com dropped a little nugget in his mock draft, where he also had the Jaguars selecting Ryan Kerrigan, that he would fit well "Kerrigan can play DE and OLB in this hybrid defense". I asked Eric about the hybrid defense, because as far as we know right now the Jaguars are running a traditional 4-3 defense. He noted that from what he had heard, the future plan was to run a hybrid scheme for the next season or so and build on a 3-4 once the coaching situation for the future is fixed. He noted that was part of the plan with the Jaguars drafting Tyson Alualu, as many teams saw him as a top flight 3-4 5-tech defensive end. He noted that since Mike Smith left for the Atlanta Falcons, this has been a long term plan of the Jaguars and it makes sense, given the multiple players they've drafted who are kind of "hybrids" that can fit in either defensive front. Just something to chew on and watch in the future. Eric Garko works as a scouting consultant to many NFL teams.
I'm still not a big-time Ryan Kerrigan fan, but that makes a lot more sense as far as selecting him if that is the plan for the defense going forward. Plus, look at his hair. That's just silly.