Moving to DE May Help Karl Klug, Tennessee Titans


Dec 11, 2011; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Karl Klug (97) sacks New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the second half at LP Field. The Saints beat the Titans 22-17. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Every NFL team can use an interior pass-rush specialist who has the ability to record 10.5 sacks over two seasons with limited playing time. That’s exactly what Karl Klug has done with the Tennessee Titans. After a rookie campaign when he led the team with seven sacks, Klug recorded 3.5 sacks in 2012. He reached those totals despite playing on just 22 percent of the defensive snaps.

This offseason, the Titans have focused on adding depth throughout their defensive line. The additions of defensive tackles Sammie Lee Hill and Antonio Johnson could reduce the limited playing time that Klug had already received. Another factor that could affect his role will deal with a greater emphasis toward a bigger and beefier defensive front. That doesn’t favor an undersized defensive tackle who weighs much less than 300 pounds.

Let’s take a look at a top-four DE and DT rotation that excludes Klug:

DT Jurrell Casey
DT Mike Martin
DT Sammie Lee Hill
DT Antonio Johnson

DE Derrick Morgan
DE Kamerion Wimbley
DE Lavar Edwards
DE Ropati Pitoitua

It’s reasonable to expect a 4-3 team to retain nine, even 10 defensive linemen. Already a well-established interior pass-rush specialist, Klug has a good chance of making the 53-man roster. He’ll become a lock if he has an effective training camp—as a defensive end.

At 6-3 and about 280 pounds, Klug is an undersized defensive tackle who has the type of size that the Titans would prefer in their DE rotation. Head coach Mike Munchak hopes to see Klug develop enough versatility so he can play anywhere on the defensive front. If they’re facing a no-huddle or spread passing attack? Klug plays inside. If the Titans need bigger bodies across the defensive line, then maybe Klug can add bulk outside. For that to matter, Klug would have to show skills as a run-defender.

Can’t fault Munchak for taking a look at how Klug would perform at DE. With that said, don’t expect Klug to receive anymore playing time than he already does. Unless one of the starters gets injured and the Titans show a willingness to play Klug during regular-season games, then this project will mean very little in the long run.