If you're a general manager and you want to get a player who is humble, gives your team 110%, and provides positive results, then Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is the player you're looking for. Anyone who's reading this now would think that he's anything but underrated. Well here's why he's the most underrated player in football.
Throughout his 8 seasons, he has never had a season where he led the league in sacks. Nonetheless, Kerrigan has been really productive in an era where edge rushers are highly valued. His consistency has helped him record 84.5 sacks, 25 forced fumbles, 411 tackles, and 3 interceptions. All of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns. Never has he recorded less than 7.5 sacks which came in his rookie year. His highest sack total was 13 which came in 2014. People also have not noticed Kerrigan, because the Redskins have only had 3 winning seasons during his career with only 2 playoff appearances coming out of it. But nonetheless, his ability to perform in big games in pressure situations is noticeable. In his first career game against the New York Giants, he returned an interception for a touchdown. A pretty good sign of things to come in his career. When the Redskins won 6 straight games in his sophomore season to clinch their division and a spot in the 2012 playoffs, Kerrigan played a big role in that run recording 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. Both of these factors contribute to why he's underrated despite the consistency that comes from Kerrigan's play throughout his career.
Perhaps the biggest reason why he's underrated, is that he was unfortunately selected in a draft class that had players as Cam Newton, Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, and J.J. Watt. All of those players were drafted before Kerrigan. All of those players are more flashy than Kerrigan and their plays are usually in highlight reels. In 2015, Quarterback Cam Newton threw 35 touchdown passes and ran for another 10 while leading the Panthers to the Super Bowl. Von Miller was one of the most important reasons why the Denver Broncos made the playoffs for the first 5 seasons of his career and won a Super Bowl in which he was the MVP of. Patrick Peterson has emerged as one of the top shutdown corners in the league. Julio Jones has helped the Falcons reach the playoffs 4 times in his career, going to the Super Bowl in one of them. A.J. Green is still one of the top receivers in football, helping the Bengals reach the playoffs for the first 5 seasons of his career. Defensive end J.J. Watt is arguably the best player from this draft. His speed, power, and impact has earned him 3 defensive player of the year awards. His impact has helped the Texans win their division 5 times after never appearing in the playoffs in their existence previously.
Despite being heavily overshadowed, Kerrigan's accolades include making the all rookie team and 4 pro bowl appearances. What's interesting however, is that as good as he's been, he seems to be getting better every year. His last three pro bowl appearances, have come in his last three seasons. He also has recorded 11 or more sacks in those last three seasons. If he can keep playing like that for the rest of his career, he could get into the Hall of Fame.
It's amazing that a player in Kerrigan has played 8 seasons in the league could be so underrated. Yet with a draft loaded with tons of amazing talent along with playing on a team that hasn't had much winning, he hasn't got the attention that he should be getting. His play style which doesn't include lots of highlight reels, also plays a big role in the lack of appreciation he receives. All of these factors that make Kerrigan underrated will hopefully come to an end as long as he keeps up the consistent play that has got him to where he is now.