There are many reasons to be confident in Ryan Kerrigan, and a number of them stem not from what he has done; but what he hasn't.
He doesn't miss games, period. In fact, Kerrigan has never missed a game in college or in the NFL. He has played in 81 of 81 possible contests during his time with the Boilermakers and Redskins. Taking it a step forward Kerrigan doesn't just not miss games; he doesn't miss snaps. In his two years with the Redskins, Kerrigan has been on the field for 2161 of 2170 possible defense snaps. That's good for an insane 99.6% clip. The only reason that number isn't 100 is because he was pulled late during a 31-6 thrashing of the Eagles last year.
Durability has been key to his success, but it's his attitude and character that have made him into a model of consistency on the field, and what has allowed him to keep his nose clean off of it. His hardworking no-nonsense attitude is reflected in the way that he relentlessly and tenaciously rushes the passer on every snap. His high character has also helped him steer clear of the many pitfalls that we see new young athletes succumb to on what seems like a weekly basis. Kerrigan is such a good and trustworthy person that teammate Logan Paulsen said that "If there's one guy on the team I'd want my daughter to date, it would be Ryan Kerrigan".
Quite possibly the most important thing that Kerrigan has not done is regress. He steadily and often dramatically improved from year to year and game to game at Purdue, and he has done the same with the Redskins. His numbers have improved in nearly every statistical category with each successive year. Most notably with his best trait; rushing the quarterback. In 2012, Kerrigan's 50 hurries ranked first among all outside linebackers and third overall. His 68 total QB pressures trailed only Aldon Smith's 72 among OLBs. The difference, Aldon Smith's pass rushing partner in crime, Justin Smith, played in 78% of the 49ers defensive snaps, while Kerrigan's PIC, Brian Orakpo, only played in 4% of the Redskins snaps.
He has also progressed very nicely in several areas of his game that were deficient. Kerrigan, a converted 4-3 defensive end and natural hand in the dirt pass rusher, at times struggled with playing in space as a coverage linebacker and as a run defender. However, his versatility, athleticism and hard work have helped him develop into an underrated defender against the run and a more competent player in coverage.
Simply put, Ryan Kerrigan is the best player on the Washington Redskins without any question marks. He doesn't come with the injury baggage that Griffin, Garcon and Orakpo do. He has never had the off the field problems that Davis and Williams have experienced. He also has the versatility to stay on the field for every snap, whereas that may not always be the case for players like Morris, Cofield and Fletcher. You know what you're getting from Ryan Kerrigan day in and day out: durability, versatility, consistent improvement, high character and an overall unmatched dependability. And if dependability breeds confidence, then everyone should be confident in Ryan Kerrigan.