Patriots

Potential Patriots draftees: Ryan Kerrigan

191543.jpg

Potential Patriots draftees: Ryan Kerrigan

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series of looks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player: Ryan Kerrigan
Ryan Kerrigan, 6-4, 267DEOLB,Purdue

Havoc-causing defensive end in Purdue's 4-3. Had 32.5 sacks in past three seasons for Boilermakers and tied the NCAA DivisionIrecord for forcedfumbles in a career (14). Kerrigan is probably the player most often ticketed to go to the Patriots in mock drafts this spring. There's a lot of reason for that. He's a football junkie and carries himself with the kind of professional air that says nothing matters more than football. Additionally, he's terrifically productive in a high-profile program and has played well against top Big Ten competition. It's not clear yet how well he'll operate in a 3-4 alignment. Whether or not he can drop into coverage on first and second down is the main question. But when the Patriots go 4-3 in passing situations, he's a beast on the edge going forward. Meanwhile, I keep reading about his lack of explosivenessand athleticism in scouting reports. I'm not getting it. Seems more than athletic and explosive than people give him credit for.

Gotta Have Him:
Tully Banta-Cain had a big investment sunk into him last offseason as a free agent by the Pats but he had a shaky 2010. His pass-rush production is under investigation. Jermaine Cunningham, who's operating over the right tackle most of the time, would seem to be the future over there. Rob Ninkovich - like Kerrigan, a Purdue product - is the first and second-down linebacker on the other side. There's a need and Kerrigan can fill it.

Don't Need Him:
Our buddy Wes Bunting at National Football Post thinks Kerrigan is really overvalued. "He gets the stereotypical 'he's white so he's a hard-nosed pass-rusher, blue-collar player and tough against the run," says Bunting. "I just don't think he's that tough against the run and that he'll get blown away in a 4-3 by tackles. In the 3-4, he's going to have to drop (in coverage) and he's too stiff-hipped to get in and out of breaks." Bunting says that spending a first-round pick on a guy who maybe a run-stoppingliability and could struggle with 3-4 OLB responsibilities is a gamble.

Forecast:
The need is there when it comes to adding a guy who can bring consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. And the players are there in this draft to fill that need. Kerrigan is one of several excellent players the Patriots can go with and we'll get into the rest. But if Kerrigan is as overvalued as Bunting says, there's no way New England spends its 17th pick on him and he will not be there at 28. If, however, the team has determined that he can do the unique things they demand - and he can mentally master them quickly - he could be their man.

Patriots Draftability: 8

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?

ex-pats-podcast17.png

EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?

On this episode of The Ex-Pats Podcast...

0:10 - Mike Giardi and Dan Koppen give their takeaways from the Patriots win over the Falcons including the defense coming up strong against Atlanta but New England still taking too many penalties.

2:00 - Why it felt like this game meant more to the Patriots, their sense of excitement after the win, and building chemistry off a good victory.

6:20 - Falcons losing their identity without Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator and their bad play calling and decisions on 4th downs.

10:00 -  A discussion about Matt Ryan not making the throws he needed against the Patriots and if he has falling off the MVP caliber-type player he was last season.

14:00 - How and why the Patriots secondary seems to be playing better without Stephon Gilmore and why Malcolm Butler has been able to turn up his play as of late.

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

gillette_stadium_fog_102217.jpg

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."