The more I read on Kerrigan the more I like him probably for the Falcon's 1st round pick. He might not be the fastest or strongest player but he seems to have great football IQ. Can he succeed in the pros and be a decent pass rusher? I predict the Falcon's to draft 25-30 overall and to find a no1 pass rusher with the pick will be extremely difficult. Based on his drafting history TD will take the player with the most upside to fill a need.
No player has been as disruptive on defense this season as Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan.
Michigan had no answer when it came to neutralizing the charge of Purdue's 6-foot-4, 263-pound senior DE Ryan Kerrigan at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette on Saturday afternoon. After totaling 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks as a sophomore, Kerrigan established himself as one of the more disruptive DEs in the country in '09. During that season, he finished with 18.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. The latter was the third best mark in the country.
Saturday was a whole new level of dominance. The type who is always looking for ways to get better, Kerrigan's five tackles for loss and four sacks against the Wolverines on Saturday brought his season totals in those respective categories to 23.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. And his big-play ability is not limited to those two areas. Also very effective at dislodging the football from the opponent, he had two forced fumbles in the game and has 12 over the last two seasons. He showed you a very good rip move against the Wolverines. And he did a terrific job of holding the point, locating the football, shedding the blocker and making stops against the run. This guy has been rising all season.
A.J. Green | WR | Georgia
On Saturday, Georgia WR A.J. Green looked every bit the part of a top-5 prospect in the 2011 NFL draft. Remember, he's currently No. 2 overall on my Big Board and has been at that same exact spot since mid-October. Highly acclaimed since he was a junior at South Carolina's Summerville High, he's been every bit as good as advertised since arriving on the Athens campus in '08. Forced to sit out the first four games of the season, he came into Saturday with just one 100-yard receiving game in the five he played against top competition. Against No. 2-ranked Auburn, the 6-foot-4, 209-pound junior totaled nine catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns. What he showed you against the Tigers wasn't just the size, but precise route-running, the speed to beat you deep, the willingness to make the tough grab across the middle and the ability to adjust and make the difficult catch when the throw is off target. When you look at all the attributes that go into being an outstanding, Pro Bowl caliber feature receiver in the NFL, Green has them all.
There were a pair of linebackers who got my attention in the ACC over the weekend.
Nate Irving | LB | N.C. State
Considering that last year at this time, Irving was forced to be a spectator after suffering several injuries in an automobile accident over the summer, he has to be thrilled just to be back on the gridiron. When I saw the box score and noticed that Irving was credited with eight tackles for loss, I thought it might be a misprint. But when I checked the tape, indeed, he was that disruptive in their win over Wake Forest. Every time I looked up, he was making a tackle in the backfield, (he also finished with a game-high 13 stops). At 6-foot-1, 233 pounds, he lacks ideal size for a middle linebacker, but compensates with very good athletic ability, excellent anticipation and a knack for making big plays. And while not the biggest player at the position, he very much enjoys the physical aspects of the game.
In a program that has churned out defensive talent, Taylor is the latest find.Bruce Taylor | OLB | Virginia Tech The most improved player for the Hokies on defense this season has been Taylor. Used sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2009, the 6-foot-2, 247-pound third-year sophomore was given an extended chance to see the field in the spring as the coaching staff sought out a replacement for injured LB Barquell Rivers. Taylor impressed enough to earn the starting job. In their win over the Tar Heels, he did a nice job against the run. He also showed some coverage ability, and was able to get after the quarterback. At his best attacking the line of scrimmage, he leads the team in tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (6). He's also tops in overall tackles with 77. What was once a source of concern has now become a team strength.
Jordan Todman | RB | Connecticut
Connecticut RB Jordan Todman put himself on the national map as a sophomore, teaming with Andre Dixon to give the Huskies a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. Not only did Todman impress running the football that year, he also did a nice job for them on special teams (he averaged 25.3 yards per kick return). With Dixon no longer in the mix, the 5-foot-9, 191-pound junior has seen his average carries per game increase from 18-plus in 2009 to 26-plus this season. His 147 rushing yards per game is second only to Oregon's LaMichael James. In the Huskies' 30-28 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday, Todman went for a career-high 222 yards on 37 carries. Known for his breakaway ability, what stood out against the Panthers was his ability to excel in short-yardage situations. On their game-tying drive in the first quarter, he converted a third-and-2 and a fourth-and-1. Then with under five minutes to go in the fourth quarter and Connecticut up by just two points, he converted a critical fourth-and-1 from their own 19-yard line and another fourth-and-1 on the final play of the game.
Keith Tandy | CB | West Virginia
In watching the first half of the Cincinnati-West Virginia game, I came away impressed with Mountaineers 5-foot-10, 198-pound junior CB Keith Tandy. Matched up against talented Bearcats senior Armon Binns on several occasions throughout the first half, Tandy managed to more than hold his own. Overall, he displayed good closing speed, did a very nice job of tackling in space, and showed good ball skills. Whereas fellow junior Robert Sands is their best pro prospect on the defensive side of the football, Tandy has actually been their top big-play performer in the deep patrol. His five INTs match the total for the rest of the team.
Marc Tyler | RB | USC
Coming out of California's Oaks Christian High three years ago, Tyler was regarded as one of the top running backs in the country. For Tyler, the son of former NFL RB Wendell Tyler, the road to success with the Trojans would be a trying one. A broken leg suffered late in his senior season in high school forced him to redshirt in '07. In spot duty in 2008, he showed flashes of the player we witnessed in high school, but simply didn't get the reps. He got off to a nice start as a sophomore, but a toe injury limited him to just one game. Approached by the new regime about a possible position change in the offseason, Tyler, now a fourth-year junior, entered the summer low on the depth chart. The only real buzz at the position surrounded incoming freshman Dillon Baxter. Slowly but surely, however, Tyler worked his way up the depth chart and was named the starter for the opener against Hawaii. He turned a few heads in that game by rushing for 154 yards on 17 carries. His next 100-yard effort, though, didn't come until USC's ninth game of the season against Arizona State. But he showed again this week some of the innate skills many saw earlier. In the Trojans' win over Arizona, Tyler had a career-high 31 carries for 160 yards. He showed good burst through the hole, elusiveness and very good body lean. His stock is finally back on the rise.
Keep up with Mel Kiper throughout the year via his home page.
Sometimes running the Mularkey offense makes me feel like I'm in a prison.