Our off-season interview series took a little break, but it's back for a quick draft interview! Today we're graced by Travis Miller (BoilerTMill) from Hammer and Rails - SB Nation's Purdue Boilermakers blog. This post was inspired by Dave's epic rant on draft teks who ultimately decide a players fate without having watched a single game the player has played.
So I thought, well, how about we ask people who have seen them play for possibly their entire college career? So I asked Travis to answer a few of my questions about Purdue's own Ryan Kerrigan, poster child of Kerrigansanity.
Jon: What is your personal overall opinion on Kerrigan?
Travis: Kerrigan is a great kid and was a leader of this football team the last two seasons. He performed very well in the classroom, and his effort on the field was unmatched by anyone else. This past season he threw upt he numbers he did despite being double- and triple-teamed as the focus off opposing offensive lines The best part is that he saved his best games for the top competition. In our upset of #7 Ohio State in 2009 he played out of his mind with 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and two forced fumbles. His sack of tate Forcier on a two-point conversion attempt at Michigan secured our first win at Michigan Stadium in 43 years.
Jon: From watching Kerrigan, how would you say he performs as a pass rusher?
Travis: Extremely well, and the potential is there for him to be even better as a rookie. Yes, he will be facing tougher competition, but he won't be facing the double-teams and holds that he had this past season. Without teams keying specifically on him he could be a very pleasant surprise. He isn't a pure speed end, but he is incredibly strong and his technique allows him to get leverage on taller tackles. I think his speed is just fine too if he can sack Denard Robinson (the shifty QB at Michigan) four times in a driving rainstorm on grass.
Jon: How does Kerrigan perform against the run? Would you say he’s a better pass rusher, or run stopper?
Travis: I think he performed equally well against both because he was constantly in the backfield, be it against the run or the pass. No one had more tackles for loss than him this past year (26) and only 12.5 of those were sacks. He also has the uncanny ability to cause fumbles, finishing his career with 14 fumbles forced to tie the Division I record. His 70 tackles period were the most of a defensive lineman in the Big Ten this year, so he is just fine against the run too.
Jon: As a pass rusher, is Kerrigan more of a bull rusher or a finesse rusher?
Travis: I think he tends to be a bull rusher because his strength is better than his speed, but the finesse comes from sound technique. He gets very low and under tackles, either shoving them out of the way or slipping past them. Had they been calling holding in our season opener at Notre Dame he would have done even more damage than seven total tackles, including 2.5 for losses and a sack, safety and fumble forced.
Jon: Do you think he will have what it takes to be a great/elite 4-3 DE in the NFL?
Travis: Absolutely. Our defense has been relatively bad the past few years, yet Kerrigan asserted himself in a tough conference when he knew that he was by far the best player on the team. Wisconsin's J.J. Watt, the other solid defensive end in the conference, pretty much conceded the first spot on the All-Big Ten team via twitter when he saw Kerrigan's game against Michigan. Much like another Boilermaker you guys have, you will not be disappointed if you get Kerrigan.
I would like to thank Travis for taking time out to answer these questions for us. And for more on all Purdue related news, check out Hammer and Rails. And thank you, thank you, thank you for the Breesus.