Paul Kruger in Training Camp
BaltimoreRavens.com had a good story on the one guy that hopes to be the answer to the team's pass rushing woes. Drafted in the second round last year out of Utah, Paul Kruger barely caught a whiff of the playing field last year. Failure to grasp the bigger playbook and inability to play Special Teams led to Kruger being inactive for a majority of the season. However, when he did get his rare chances, he usually looked lost other than the one bright spot he had when he intercepted Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Dennis Dixon in the Ravens OT win in Baltimore last year.
At the Ravens season ending press conference, Head Coach John Harbaugh said that the team was going to get Kruger to gain weight and beef up so that he can play defensive end. If Kruger can concentrate on putting his hand in the dirt like he did in college, his learning curve should be a lot easier than him having to learn to play linebacker in the NFL.
While in college at Utah, Kruger terrorized opposing QB's and ran down running backs with his athleticism and raw talent. In the NFL however, that alone just won't, and didn't fly for him. Looking lost out there at times, Kruger frustrated the coaches as much as himself, and made some people think his selection in the second round was looking to be a bust, considering not too many people outside of the Ravens' War Room had even heard of him prior to his name being announced when the pick was made.
Obviously, the Ravens saw enough in his play that they believed they could educate him on the transition to the pro game, much less to another position. The team still has faith in him to be the eventual replacement for DE Trevor Pryce. If Kruger can pack that weight on and still retain his speed and athleticism, then he has a great chance to be a pass rushing specialist, or even a three down defensive end. Depending on where the Ravens go with their first round pick in the NFL Draft late next month will go a long way in saying the team either has confidence in Kruger, or that they are looking for someone else to fill that huge pass rushing void.
Check out the story at BaltimoreRavens.com.