Entering the season, I was on the fence about Ryan Kerrigan. I wasn’t sure if he could be a difference-maker, especially right away. Boy, was I wrong. Not only has he played well as a rookie, but he seems to be the guy other than London Fletcher who makes a play whenever one needs to be made.

It may be too early to say this, but I’m going to put it out there: With Fletcher in the twilight of his career, Laron Landry too hurt to be what he once was and Brian Orakpo not figuring out how to deliver the big play when it’s needed, the stage appears set for Ryan Kerrigan to be the biggest brand name on this defense and even the entire team.

Heck, I didn’t even have the type of impact as a rookie Kerrigan is having. Of course the circumstances were different. In 2000, we thought we had a Super Bowl contender here; in 2011, rookies are needed more in a year of trying to build a winner. But either way, Kerrigan’s having a really strong rookie campaign.

For all of the things I criticize Mike Shanahan about, the selection of Kerrigan was a home run. I’ve definitely been won over.

Kerrigan’s motor and his football IQ make him special. Because his motor runs on high for a whole play, he’s difficult to deal with and is never far from the ball, raising his chances of making a play.

If he can become consistent with making plays that change the momentum of games, I’m predicting Ryan Kerrigan will surpass all players on this roster as the undisputed face of this team. That’s quite the distinction. Let’s see if he has it in him to take the throne.

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