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Inside Free Agency - Day 5: Paul Kruger

Posted Feb 14, 2013

A look at the most interesting players available in 2013

The crazy time of year that is free agency is fast approaching, so KCChiefs.com has you covered with a 30-day free agency look, highlighting the 30 most intriguing free agents or players who could be released/traded during the offseason.
 
You may have noticed, there are no restricted free agents on the list, largely because they rarely leave their current teams. None of the reports are indicative of the Chiefs plans for the 2013 free agency season.

Day 5 of 30

Name: Paul Kruger

Position: OLB

Height: 6’4

Weight: 270

College: Utah

Born: February 15th, 1986 (Rexburg, ID)

Age: 26

Experience: 4 years

Drafted: 2009, 2nd round 57th pick overall by the Baltimore Ravens

STRENGTHS:

Having a 'nose for the ball' is typically associated with the secondary, but Paul Kruger's 'nose for the snap count' is likely second-to-none.

Known for having one of the best jumps off the ball, Kruger reads the count, gains the split-second advantage to blow by the opposing lineman, en route to a quarterback sack.

The Ravens utilized Kruger as a situational pass rusher in 2011 and he responded with 5.5 sacks. He topped that in 2012 with a career-best nine QB takedowns.

According to Scott Cacciola of the New York Times, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick noted other strengths of Kruger, prior to facing him in the AFC title game this year.

“He’s got good quickness," Belichick said. "He plays strong. He’s long. He’s got good length to be able to be disruptive. He does a good job in pass coverage. Smart player. Pretty instinctive.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/sports/football/paul-kruger-leads-ravens-defense-to-afc-championship-game.html?_r=1&

Kruger also showed he is dependable, valiantly stepping in for an injured Terrell Suggs, who tore his Achilles tendon during the offseason.

Kruger's stat line in 2012: 15 games (six starts), 30-solo tackles, 12 assists, nine sacks, one INT, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

As far as resiliency goes, nothing appears to stop Kruger, who overcame a life-threatening injury during colllege, to get where he is today.

http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=jn-kruger102308

WEAKNESSES:

The jury is still out on his ability as an every-down guy. He was primarily used on passing downs in Baltimore.

Also, if he signs with a team that runs a 4-3 defense, he'll have to prove he can make the switch from a 3-4 and still be as dominant.

FINAL TAKE:

ESPN NFL Insider Bill Polian says of Kruger, "An outside pass-rusher, Kruger can play OLB or DE. He is coming off his rookie contract and really came into his own this season. He's become a very efficient pass-rusher, and there is a market for a player like that."

I think if Paul Kruger has the will, strength and work ethic to overcome all that he has in life, no challenge is too big for the current Super Bowl champion. 

http://www.nfl.com/combine/profiles/paul-kruger?id=80656

YOUR THOUGHTS ON PAUL KRUGER?

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