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Bucs Nation Loves Ryan Kerrigan in the 2011 NFL Draft

That's a pretty safe conclusion. In the poll that went up yesterday, Ryan Kerrigan is winning by a mile. In the poll that ran earlier this  month, he won with a wide margin as well. And while he wasn't selected by the Bucs in the Community Mock Draft, that happened only because he was already off the board. And this is understandable, Kerrigan is the most productive college defensive end in this draft, he's a high-character player who always plays hard. He dominated in college, so why not in the pros, right? It's tough to argue with that and it could very well be true, but I think Kerrigan's limited athleticism will limit his potential in the NFL. Specifically, I wonder if he can turn the edge with any consistency at the next level.

That's not just my opinion, though. Guru of Tape Greg Cosell called him a "glorified try-hard player" who lacked any explosive or dynamic moves. That's what Kerrigan shows on film, and it's hard to get around that. If the Bucs do draft Kerrigan they're not getting the dynamic pass rusher they need. They're getting a solid defensive end Who will work hard and get the most out of his career. In the best case he turns out to be Aaron Kampman. In the worst case, Tim Crowder. The question is whether you want to grab that kind of player with a first-round pick, or whether you want someone with dynamic potential like Aldon Smith, or an elite skillset but poor motor like Justin Houston. 

All that said, I certainly wouldn't be disappointed if the Bucs did draft Kerrigan, and a lot of Bucs fans would be ecstatic. He will likely be able to contribute very early in his career and will be at least a solid player throughout his career. Personally, though, I'd rather see a player who has the potential to be an explosive pass rusher but who carries a little more risk drafted in the first round.