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After trading down six spots and acquiring a second round pick, the Redskins drafted Purdue’s Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick in the first round of Thursday night’s NFL Draft.
A defensive end in a four-man front in college, Washington will play Kerrigan at outside linebacker opposite Brian Orakpo in the team’s 3-4 scheme. A 6-4, 265-pound pass rusher who holds a Big-10 record for fumbles forced (14 in his four seasons), Kerrigan will be asked to help Washington generate more pressure.
“We felt like we got a football player that obviously can play the outside linebacker position,” Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said. “I think he brings a lot to the table. He plays the run very well. Blue collar player. Plays extremely hard. We’re surely glad he’s a part of the Redskins.’
Kerrigan, who is tied for the all-time football bowl subdivision record with 14 forced fumbles, wasn’t surprised to find out that he’d be headed to Washington.
“I had an idea,” the 22 year-old said. “I had a good couple of visits with them. It felt awesome to hear Coach Shanahan call and say ‘congrats on becoming a Redskin,’ I’ll never forget that moment.”
The Redskins tallied 29 sacks in 2010, 11 fewer than they did in 2009 and the 25th highest total in the league. Kerrigan, who registered 33.5 sacks and 57 tackles-for-loss in college, should help improve that total in his rookie season.
When day-two of the draft begins the Redskins will be looking to add two more starters to a team that lost double-digit games last season. Washington is scheduled to pick two times (at 41 and 49) in the first 17 picks on Friday.