Redskins address defense, trade down and select Kerrigan

Washington lands another second-round pick from Jacksonville

ASHBURN, Va. | One draft pick isn’t enough to the fill the holes of a 6-10 team.

With needs on both sides of the football, the Washington Redskins took two steps to fix the problems Thursday on the first night of the NFL Draft.

First, they dealt the No. 10 pick to Jacksonville. Then with the No. 16 pick obtained from the Jaguars, along with a second-round selection, they nabbed Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan.

The pick didn’t have the glitz of other possibilities available at No. 16, like Texas Christian University quarterback Andy Dalton or Alabama running back Mark Ingram. But Kerrigan will provide an immediate boost to the woeful Redskins defense. Last season it ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yards allowed and 26th in rushing yards allowed.

At Redskins Park, where conversation finally turned from the NFL’s labor dispute to football, coach Mike Shanahan called Kerrigan “relentless.”

“All I’ve been taught to do is play hard to the whistle,” Kerrigan said in a conference call from New York City. “The play’s not over until the whistle blows and I really take that to heart.”

Perhaps Shanahan hinted at the move to defense during his predraft press conference Wednesday, when he talked about the number of mistakes made on quarterbacks picked in the draft’s early rounds.

While Kerrigan lined up at defensive end at Purdue, he’ll transition to outside linebacker in the Redskins’ 3-4 scheme. It’s the same move Brian Orakpo, who will play opposite Kerrigan, faced after he was drafted.

“I hope to emulate him,” said Kerrigan, who described his approach as “being disruptive.”

At 6-foot-3, 267 pounds, Kerrigan still managed a 4.71 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. That’s part of the quickness and energy he displayed at Purdue where he spent much of his college time in opponents’ backfields. Last season he had 26 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and forced five fumbles.

That sort of performance has drawn comparisons to Aaron Kampman of the Jaguars, Aaron Smith of the Steelers and Jared Allen of the Vikings.  

Kerrigan, a math education major, finished his four-year career with 33.5 sacks and 57 tackles for loss.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper predicted Kerrigan would be picked at No. 16 in his mock draft, only to the Jaguars instead of the Redskins.

Meanwhile, the Redskins obtained the Jaguars’ No. 49 pick in the second round for moving down six spots. The pick, which will be made Friday, essentially replaces the Redskins’ missing third and fourth-round picks.

It was the fifth time in the Daniel Snyder era the Redskins have traded up or down in the first round. The last time the Redskins traded down in the first round was 2008, when they sent the Nos. 21, 84 and 154 picks to the Falcons for the Nos. 34, 48 and 103 picks.

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