The Redskins upgraded their pass rush on Thursday night, selecting Purdue linebacker-defensive end Ryan Kerrigan in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The Redskins used the No. 16 overall pick on Kerrigan after trading down from No. 10 in a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. As part of the deal, the team also acquired the Jaguars’ second-round selection, at No. 49 overall.
Kerrigan, 6-3 and 267 pounds, was among the elite pass rushers available in the NFL Draft.
As a high-motor defensive end for the Boilermakers, Kerrigan posted double-digit sacks each of the last two years – 11 as a junior in 2009 and 12.5 as a senior. He finished his college career with 33.5 career sacks.
Head coach Mike Shanahan expects to transition Kerrigan to outside linebacker in the Redskins’ 3-4 scheme.
“He fits into our system very well,” Shanahan said. “He should make the conversion very quickly.”
Said Kerrigan in a conference call with Washington, D.C., reporters, Kerrigan said: "I feel like I have the ability to be in a two-point stance. I have to practice it, but I feel like with my pass rush skills and my athletic ability, I can make the transition."
One draft guide compared Kerrigan to Minnesota Vikings’ defensive end Jared Allen. The guide projected Kerrigan as a rookie starter.
Kerrigan is the third player from Purdue the Redskins have drafted since 1967, joining center Mark Fischer (1998, fifth round) and running back Mike Northington (1977, ninth round).
Kerrigan, 22, played four years at Purdue, starting the last three seasons. He was a unanimous All-American selection in 2010. He also earned first-team All-Big Ten honors each of the last two years.
Kerrigan logged 210 career tackles and proved himself time and again as one of the most disruptive forces in college football. He tied an NCAA record and set a Big Ten mark with 14 career forced fumbles.
Kerrigan also posted three fumble recoveries, one interception and seven passes defended in his career at Purdue.
As a senior, Kerrigan contributed a career-best 70 tackles (including 26 tackles for a loss), 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
A native of Muncie, Ind., Kerrigan starred at Muncie Central High School, where he was a two-time first-team all-state selection. He was born on Aug. 16, 1988.