Potential Patriots draftees: Ryan Kerrigan

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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.

Patriots place Tre' Jackson on reserve/PUP list

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Patriots place Tre' Jackson on reserve/PUP list

The Patriots announced three roster moves on Monday night. Two resulted in players parting ways with the team. The other opened a roster spot without a departure. 

In addition to releasing both defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and center Bryan Stork, the Patriots also placed guard Tre' Jackson on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Jackson began training camp on PUP, and he has not practiced with the team since camp kicked off. Now that he is on the reserve/PUP, the second-year player out of Florida State will be forced to miss the first six weeks of the regular season, but he will not count against the active roster during that period. 

Jackson, a fourth-round pick last year, played through knee issues at times as a rookie, seeing action in 13 games and starting in nine. He has been spotted on the practice fields this summer, but he has been limited to warm-ups and conditioning work. 

In his absence, the Patriots still have depth at guard, which may have had something to do with the team's willingness to make Jackson unavailable for almost the first half of the season. Rookie Joe Thuney looks like he will be the starter at left guard, while Josh Kline could be the option at right guard to start the season. Jonathan Cooper and Shaq Mason are dealing with injuries at the moment, but they both returned to the practice field on Monday, and they also have a shot at the right guard job. Rookie sixth-rounder Ted Karras could also factor in as a reserve at either guard or center if he makes the club. 

The Patriots currently have 80 players on the active roster and need to reduce that number to 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday.