Thursday, April 28, 2011

Redskins trade back, then select Ryan Kerrigan at No. 16

If the goal for the Redskins was not to do anything stupid, then they achieved that with their first move of the night. Then they decided to take a minor gamble.

Not content to just take someone they targeted at No. 10 (which may have been DE/LB Ryan Kerrigan anyway), the Redskins traded the pick to the Jaguars. In exchange for that pick, the Skins received the 16th pick and a second-round choice (49th overall). It's likely that the Skins wanted to move out of the 10th slot the whole time, or maybe another player they wanted just didn't drop to them. Either way, they got a player they really liked in Kerrigan.

Kerrigan seems like a guy who will fit well in the Redskins' 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker. Here's a brief summary of his skills via ESPN DraftTracker:
What he brings: Kerrigan lacks elite size and athleticism, but when you put on the film he shows the instincts to find the ball and make plays. He'll play outside linebacker for the Redskins and will be at his best moving forward rather than playing in reverse. He has above-average first-step quickness and a wide array of pass-rush moves to provide an immediate upgrade to the pass rush opposite Redskins OLB Brian Orakpo.

How he fits: He should fit nicely in Jim Haslett's 3-4 defense. The Redskins have really needed a bookend for their best pass-rusher, Brian Orakpo, who will now see less double teams. Right now, the other starter, Lorenzo Alexander, is probably a better run stopper than pass rusher and even though Kerrigan is not an elite edge rusher, he is a try-hard guy who will greatly improve the pressure this unit tries to create.
So he's not a perfect choice, but he has a lot of talent and is a hard-nosed player who won't be out of place in this defense. That already seems like a change of pace from a team that usually doesn't have any kind of organized plan and frequently tries to fit square pegs into round holes. An enormous defensive lineman or two will go a long way to making this pick look better, but it's a step in the right direction that the Redskins are seeking out the ability to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Instead of reaching for a quarterback too early, the Redskins ended up with a useful player and an extra draft choice. There's a lot of work still to be done, but is there really that much to complain about right now?

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