It is safe to say the 2010 Purdue football season was a dsiappointment. While some were expecting an eight or nine win season we finished 4-8, suffered injuries to virtually important skill player, ended the year on a six game losing streak, and lost the bucket to Indiana at home in overtime. It was a fitting end to a crappy season.
One major bright spot was the play of Ryan Kerrigan, who is headed to this week's NFL combine looking to secure himself that proverbial phat cash as a first round selection. He is our lone player headed to the NFL combine, mostly because we had a young team with a small senior class. He may be one of the best players there, however.
By now we all know the numbers. Kerrigan faced double and triple teams nearly all season long, yet he still earned unanimous All-America numbers and caused havoc in the backfield of every opponent he faced. Denard Robinson was forced to run and hide from him as Kerrigan had four sacks and two forced fumbles. Against Ohio State in 2009 Kerrigan had another monster day against Terelle Pryor. He did so much for us we dubbed him "Superman" and we expected him to make a play on every snap. He leaves college as the All-time NCAA leader with 14 forced fumbles. He earned a nod as the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year and was one of the most terrorizing defensive ends in our school's long history.
His outstanding senior year had 12.5 sacks, 26 tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles, which were all tops in the Big Ten and among the top in Division I. He was also an incredibly smart player as an Academic All-American.
So what could running around cones and being measured in every way possible accomplish for him? He played on a bad team the last three years and still emerged as one of hte best players in the country. If anything, Kerrigan look to make sure his stock doesn't drop any further. Most people are projecting him as a first round pick and possibly even top ten. there is an excellent chance he will be the first defensive end off the board, and with his speed he could be a versatile player in a 3-4 defensive as an end/linebacker. That may be where he proves himself most. He could, in theory, be even better as a rookie because he won't be the focus of opposing offenses like he was at Purdue.
I have a hard time seeing how Kerrigan could lose his first round status. He is a smart kid that excelled in the classroom, giving him favorable marks on the infamous Wonderlic. He gave back to his community, and he was a beast on the field. Look for him to become Purdue third 1st round pick of the past few seasons, joining Anthony Spencer and Dustin Keller in that category.
Watch NFL Scouting Combine Feb 24 - Mar 1