I would love to steal this guy from the Dirty Birds. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans 2013 Free Agents Interests: OLB/DE Paul Kruger

The Tennessee Titans need to take a long look at Paul Kruger.

There’s a handful of free agent pass rushers out there on the market this year, and Kruger is one of my favorites.  His story is less than typical though.

Kruger came out of college drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the 2009 draft.  He was drafted as an outside linebacker to play in their 3-4 scheme.  Kruger was seeing limited action and playing time at the position so he dedicated 2010 to bulking up in order to transition to playing DE.  It didn’t work out too well as he couldn’t work his way into the talented Ravens lineup and only recorded one sack for the entire year.

The 2011 season is when things began to turn around for Kruger.  He was moved back to OLB in the Ravens 3-4 scheme and was mainly used on 3rd downs and pass rushing situations.  He played in all 16 games and ended the season with 5.5 sacks and 2 pass deflections.

In 2012 Kruger’s upward trajectory continued as he became more of an integral part of the Ravens’ defense.  He had 7.5 sacks in his last 8 regular season games and another 2.5 sacks in the playoffs.  Not to mention a forced fumble in one playoff game and a fumble recovery in another.  Kruger plays hard and his added bulk has helped.  Often players that try and add weight to their frame end up just being slower and less effective.

I’m not normally keen on trying to convert a 3-4 OLB to a 4-3 defensive end, but Kruger is a little different.  He bull rushes as much as, if not more than, he tries to go around the tackle, and has steadily increased a repertoire of skills at the position.  His added size from trying to move to DE is a boon as well. On tape Kruger plays as a downed lineman more often than not in the Ravens hybrid scheme as well, so he’s used to the position and actually excels from that stance.  Kruger’s slow start in the league also means he’s a “young” four year veteran with only two years of steady playing time.

Paul Kruger’s stock has skyrocketed with his play this year and the Raven’s will try hard to resign him.  The Titan’s would do well to try and lure him away and solidify a position of need going forward.  With the progression of Morgan, the Titans could be solid at the end position with two young aggressive players for years to come.

Yea or Nay?


You can follow me on Twitter  @gunnelsj


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Tags: 2013 Free Agents Defensive End Paul Kruger Tennessee Titans

  • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

    There’s still a bit of a sour taste left in my mouth form how well Wimbley did this year converting. I’d prefer if the went after someone more like Osi Umenyura.

    • josh gunnels

      Osi’s name is bigger than his production. Kruger plays with his hand in the dirt more often than not. he rarely plays off and is more of a pass rush specialist which is what we need. Much rather have him. watch him this sunday!

      • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

        I will!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennie.guardado Bennie Guardado

    Let’s be honest with ourselves, what chance do we really have of getting Kruger? It is going to be a really tough sell to get a guy to walk away from a well-managed Super Bowl caliber team that has veteran leadership. What young player wouldn’t want to stay in a healthy environment and continue to learn? Especially, when he would be asked to come to an environment that is, to be frank, a poison. The Titans are probably the worst off I have ever seen them organization-wise. I wouldn’t want to play for the Titans if I was a free agent. Not to mention, I really think the Titans management hate free agents, whether they are coming from our team or not. (Unless your name is Peyton Manning of course.) When was the last time we signed a big name or kept one of our key players beside C.J.? I really need you writers to lift my spirits give me something to hope for. At the moment I see the Titans heading right for The Dark Ages.

    • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

      Yeah. I do imagine the Titans being a bit of a tough sell. The team seems to be in a bit of a limbo state right now.

      We did sign Kamerion Wimbley and Steve Hutchinson last year, both of which weren’t small names.

      And as for spirit lifting, well, I think that this is probably one of the most optimistic Titans sites on the web. Stay tuned! ha ha

      • http://www.facebook.com/bennie.guardado Bennie Guardado

        Okay, I will give you Wimbley, but Hutchinson was just a known name. He got booted out of Min, and it seems they did fine without him. (A.P.’s 2000 yard season and all) I guess I should have said big talent instead of big name. The Titans don’t bring guys in that make a difference. Of course this is only in my opinion. I look at what Manning did in Denver and even Jackson in Tampa. These guys made immediate big differences for the teams that signed them. I don’t think the Titans free agents have had that success.

        • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

          Agreed. It seems to be an area the Titans have always struggled in. They might make a splash with the O-line this offseason. We’ll just have to see….

          I’m still glad Manning didn’t come here. It just wouldn’t feel right rooting for him, even though he did go to college here.

        • josh gunnels

          It’s not that simple though. what did mario williams do in buffalo? how about haynesworth in DC? The titans have tried through the years to bring in guys, that just haven’t always hit. remember yancey thigpen and david givens? they were top tier gets when they went after them.

          We need another free agent class like we had with Chris Hope, Mawae, and Thorton. Those were solid players with good leadership qualities. That was a great free agent class for the Titans.

          • http://www.titansized.com/ Justin Stewart

            Tennessee: Where receivers go to die

    • josh gunnels

      We signed Roos and Stewart to long term deals right before free agency a couple years ago and they are two of the best OTs in the league. We extended McCourty as well this last year. Craig Stevens too.