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?