Opinions on DE Paul Kruger from Utah?

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Woods, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    I think this guy would be a solid pick at 51 for us or a small trade up from 69.

    Kruger could play ILB in the 34 as well as OLB. He also can drop back into coverage (from what I've read). He can play with his hands on the ground rushing the passer in certain situations (i.e., Ellis) or standing up.

    He's already got great size for a 34 linebacker and he's got instincts and is quick.

    Plus, incredible motor, leadership qualities, and no character issues.

    He's been compared to Vrabel (now of KC) as a LB-type.

    I'm not sure if we've looked at him, however.
  2. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    From NFLDraftcountdown.com,

    Defensive End | Redshirt Sophomore | Utah Paul Kruger
    Height: 6-41/4 | Weight: 263 | 40-Time: 4.86

    Official Bio

    Adequate size and bulk with a large frame and room to get bigger...A good athlete...Great instincts and awareness...Active with a non-stop motor...Very tough with decent strength...Pretty quick and agile with good balance...Does a terrific job in pursuit...Uses his hands well...A reliable tackler...Comfortable in space...Intense and competitive...A team leader...Great work ethic...Very mature...Offers some versatility.

    Has short arms...Lacks great speed...A little stiff...Doesn't always play with proper leverage...Is not real powerful...Pass rush repertoire is somewhat limited...Has health issues and durability concerns...A bit older than the average prospect.. Just two years of playing experience.

    Both parents played sports at Oregon State (father football; mother track and field)...One of six children...Brother, Dave, is a defensive lineman at Utah and another brother, Joe, is already committed to the Utes for 2010...Played quarterback in high school...Redshirted in 2004...Spent 2005 and 2006 on an LDS mission...Returned in 2007 and assumed a starting job, earning some Freshman All-American honors...Had a breakout season in 2008 and was named 2nd Team All-MWC...Was in a car accident when he was 13-years-old and lost his spleen and a kidney...Suffered serious injuries when he was stabbed in the ribs and abdomen during a fight (which he did not instigate) in January of 2008...Opted to enter the 2009 NFL Draft as a redshirt sophomore...Will be a 24-year-old rookie...Could play defensive end in either a 40 or 30 front and possibly even outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme...May never be a star in the NFL but possesses above average physical tools, top-notch intangibles and also still has a little potential.

    Career Statistics
    2004 RS - - -
    2005 DNP - - -
    2006 DNP - - -
    2007 13 63 7.5 3.0
    2008 13 61 16.5 7.5
    Totals 26 124 24.0 10.5
  3. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    From NFLDraftScout.com,

    3/9/2009 - Utah Pro day: The University of Utah pro day was held today in Salt Lake City, with 21 teams and 13 players in attendance. Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ron Meeks was among the attendees, as were defensive backfield coaches from the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions and a defensive line coach from the Seattle Seahawks. The pro day was held indoors on FieldTurf. Kruger, at 6-4 and 260 pounds, ran 40 times of 4.80 and 4.79. He had a 32-inch vertical leap and a 9-1 broad jump, and he did 22 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press. He did not participate in shuttle drills. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com

    Compares To: AARON KAMPMAN, Green Bay -- Kruger is a perfect complement for a team that likes a strong work ethic in a player. There might be bigger, faster and stronger defensive linemen in the draft, but Kruger has enough versatility in his game to put his hand down in a 4-3 alignment or stand up in a 3-4 formation. Kampman has had a good run without having superstar athletic skills. Give Kruger a year or two to adapt and he could be a big hit.
  4. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    * bump *

    seeing if there are any comments
  5. Phrozen Phil

    Phrozen Phil Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to compare him to a lot of other guys. There seems to be a big supply of guys with similar measureables. Is there anything about this guy that stands out for you?
  6. Chocolate Lab

    Chocolate Lab Run-loving Dino

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    He seems similar to Veikune, though a tad bigger. BAT likes both -- we need him to do a comparison of the two.

    Seems to me more 43 teams might look at Kruger as an end, while they might think Veikune is a little small to play there.
  7. BAT

    BAT Mr. Fixit

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    Kruger has top notch intangibles, unquestioned D leader on the undefeated Utah team. He is big and physical, with the frame to get even bigger. Kruger doesn't have a great first step or a lot of speed, but as a former QB he is so good at reading and getting a jump on the play. He can also hit w/explosion & is suprisingly good in coverage. He's almost like a big Zach Thomas. With that comparison, it is not surpsing that I think he could be more special at ILB than at OLB. He is too limited athletically to be a great pass rusher, that is why I hesitate to champion him with our first pick. I do love his intangibles tho.

    Veikune is not a leader type (more quiet), but he is an extremely hard worker (like Kruger), great awareness & instincts (like Kruger) and is fiery on the field. Veikune is an even more physical player than Kruger (even though Kruger is a little bigger). Veikune will seperate people from the ball, he's been doing it since high school. Veikune can play ILB, maybe even DL, but he is best at OLB. I believe that Veikune is not only the best value, but he will have the quickest impact as a strongside OLB (a need). I liken his athleticism and pass rushing to Lamar Woodley, but he also has the versatility and power of Justin Tuck (Tuck has better size & long speed).
  8. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff, BAT.

    I'd love to draft Veikune in the 3rd round. I don't think he'll make it to the

    I guess if we trade down with our 2nd, Kruger would be a good pick. Maybe around 57-62 area.
  9. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Kruger is a good fit as a Ellis type.

    He can rush from the DE spot in the nickel and he can play 3-4 DE as long as he isn't asked to cover in space. Like Ellis he is fundamentally sound and can hold his spot down but lacks that burst to be a star.

    He is a 3rd round value but he'll go in 2 because any pass rushers get drafted early.

    I'd not cry if we reached for him at 51 because I think he is a good system fit and will play above his talent level.
  10. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Utah’s Kruger survives, thrives

    By Jason King, Yahoo! Sports Oct 23, 10:25 pm EDT

    SALT LAKE CITY – Shortly after the brawl – after the gang members sped away with their knives and screwdrivers and brass knuckles – Paul Kruger sprawled out in the rear of a black Durango and looked up at his sister.

    “Jessica,” he said, “I’m having trouble breathing.”

    Kruger’s face was pale. Blood seeped from his abdomen, through his shirt and onto his hands. When Kruger touched one of the stab wounds on his stomach, he could feel his intestines.

    “Don’t go to sleep, Paul,” Jessica said as they waited for the ambulance. “Don’t go to sleep.”

    Nine months later, in a Marriott hotel room in Salt Lake City, Kruger was emotionless as he talked about that January night. The Utah defensive end was almost numb to the story, having rehashed it countless times for the people who asked to see the scars that zigzag across his torso.

    The 15 to 20 Latino gang members who jumped Kruger as he was leaving a party also drove a screwdriver through the back of his teammate, Greg Newman, and used brass knuckles to break the nose and shatter the cheekbone of his younger brother, Dave.

    It was Kruger, though, who awoke the following morning in a Utah hospital with life-threatening injuries.

    After more than 100 Utes players and coaches had filed in and out of his room, Kruger summoned the doctor who had repaired his nicked artery, the one who lifted Kruger’s organs from his body and examined them before putting them back in their place.

    “Doc,” Kruger said, “will I ever play football again?”

    If only she’d looked at a license plate or paid closer attention to faces and cars. Maybe then, Jessica Kruger said, the men who attacked her brothers and their friends would be behind bars instead of roaming the streets.

    Salt Lake City police still are investigating leads surrounding the Jan. 19 attack. The Kruger family said they’ve been told the assailants might be members of a Las Vegas gang that transports crystal methamphetamine to Utah. But no one is sure.

    Photo Nearly 50 staples were required to close the incisions made during Paul Kruger’s surgery.

    “It’s easy to have what-ifs after a situation like that,” said Jessica, 21. “At the time, all I cared about was helping my brothers.”

    With about 20 prospects in for official visits, the Jan. 19 weekend was a big one for the Utah football program. After dining with the coaching staff and their families at Rodizio Grill, several of the recruits and players gathered at a house away from campus to watch the Felix Trinidad vs. Roy Jones Jr. boxing match.

    Paul, who had just finished his redshirt freshman season, went with Jessica and Dave, then a 17-year-old high school senior.

    Before the pay-per-view ever began, Paul and his group decided to head for the Sundance Film Festival across town. As they walked toward the street, Paul noticed a car driving slowly past the house with the window rolled down.

    “These guys just started yelling at us and cursing, saying all kinds of things,” Paul said. “People trash-talk all the time and just kind of move on. But something about this was different. Something just didn’t feel right.”

    Things escalated when Newman hurled a snowball at the car. When the men got out and approached the players, Paul attempted to play peacemaker.

    “(Paul) ran up and got between everyone and said, ‘We don’t want a fight. We don’t want any trouble,’ ” Dave said. “It seemed like everything was going to die down, but then one of the guys spit in our friend’s face.”

    Fighting ensued, and before Paul and his group knew it, two more cars filled with hooligans had pulled up and unloaded. It was 15-on-five – “at least,” Paul said – and, for a time, the football players held their own.

    David pummeled one man while two others clung to his back. Paul lifted an assailant off the ground with one hand and slammed him against a fence while fending off two more attackers with the other.

    Standing nearby, Jessica did her best to break up the fight. When she noticed Dave was bleeding, she grabbed him and pulled him away from the melee. He’d been hit with brass knuckles, and the skin on his cheek was folded outward.

    Then there was Paul, who felt a burning sensation in his side.

    “I heard someone scream, ‘They’ve got knives,’ ” Paul said. “But I didn’t realize I’d been stabbed. I got to the car and reached under my shirt. I could feel my intestines. Then I pulled my hand out. It was pure blood.”

    As the assailants fled, Paul and his friends headed for the hospital, but they eventually stopped the car and called 911 when Paul’s breathing became strained and he complained of dizziness. Jessica and her friend, Meredith Mangum – a nursing student – put pressure on his two stab wounds until the ambulance arrived.

    “It was definitely traumatic,” Paul said. “I didn’t know what was going on or how bad it was. My friend, Ryder (Olsen), leaned over the seat to look at my stomach. His eyes got really wide. I could tell he was scared, and that scared me, because he’s a med school student. He knows more about that kind of stuff than the average person.”

    Making things even scarier for Paul was that he has just one kidney and no spleen, the result of an accident that occurred nearly 10 years earlier. When Paul was 13, a Jeep Wrangler in which he was riding rolled over and landed on him. He was in critical condition with internal bleeding for three weeks.

    “He has guardian angels that he’s wearing out,” Paul’s mother, Jennifer, said last spring.

    This time, in a four-hour operation, doctors removed Paul’s bowel, intestines and stomach to check for damage. They also discovered a chipped rib, a nicked artery and a lung that collapsed after filling with blood.

    In all, it took nearly 50 staples to close the incisions that were made during surgery. Kruger lost 20 pounds while recovering – as well as a considerable amount of strength. Even though doctors told him he eventually would be able to return to the football field, there were questions regarding how quickly he’d become an effective player again.

    “The people that truly know him didn’t doubt him,” Jennifer Kruger said. “He didn’t get depressed. He didn’t get angry. He just got into this mindset of ‘Over the next 10 weeks, I have to get better.’ That’s how Paul is.

    “In situations like that he almost goes blind with intensity.”

    In just his second season on the field, Kruger is one of the main reasons No. 12 Utah is 8-0 and a legitimate threat to play in a Bowl Championship Series game.

    Even at 260 pounds, Kruger is the most athletic player on a unit that ranks ninth in the country in both pass defense and total defense. Individually, he’s No. 9 on the national chart for tackles for loss with 13.5. All-conference honors seem like a lock. Some pundits even are tossing around his name for All-America.

    Not bad for a guy who cheated death less than one year ago.

    “Paul Kruger,” Oregon State coach Mike Riley said, “is one of those special, special players.”

    Folks around Utah’s program say they’ve seen this coming for years.

    During a practice in the fall of 2004, when Kruger was a redshirt freshman, he batted down a pass from future first-round NFL draft pick Alex Smith. Utes assistants scolded Kruger for getting so close to Smith on the play and told him to back off.

    Apparently Kruger didn’t hear them, because on the very next snap, he swatted away another pass and celebrated by screaming a few barbs and taunts at Smith. The assistants screamed at Kruger but, away from the action, then-coach Urban Meyer was doubled over in laughter.

    “He’s the leader out there,” said Dave, now a freshman lineman at Utah and one of six Kruger children. “He’s a fiery intense guy. He sets the tone in the huddle and people follow.”

    Kruger left Utah after the fall of 2004 to embark on a Latter Day Saints church mission in Kansas and Missouri. For two years, he’d awake each day and roam various areas, attempting to spread the word. Sometimes he’d find himself volunteering to mow the lawn of a less-fortunate family; other times he’d counsel or read scriptures to someone looking for guidance.

    To this day, Kruger still keeps in touch with the young children he and a friend met in a single-parent home in Manhattan, Kan., where the father was struggling to make ends meet.

    “They were in need of some good influences,” Kruger said. “It seemed like something was missing, and we helped fill that gap. We helped change the way they acted. They looked up to us like we were their heroes.”

    Kruger paused.

    “It’s ironic,” he said. “Your mission is to do things for others, but when you’re done with it, you’ve probably changed more than anyone. That experience made a huge difference in my life.”

    Kruger returned to Utah two days before Christmas in 2006. For two years he hadn’t lifted weights or run to stay in shape. Still, he was intent on earning a starting job in 2007.

    One afternoon he won a competition that called for players to race around the weight room pushing a 45-pound plate that laid flat against the ground. No one knew it then, but once it was over, he went into the weight room and threw up.

    “He’s a tough kid,” said Paul’s father, Paul Sr., who played at Oregon State. “And when I say tough, I’m talking about mentally tough.”

    That trait came in handy after Kruger was attacked in January. Just as he fought back from the Jeep injury and from the two years he spent away from football, Kruger got after it once he was cleared to resume workouts following the stabbing.

    Because of a fear that his abdomen would herniate, Kruger was held out of hitting drills during spring ball and barred from heavy lifting in the weight room. Doctors told him it would take seven to eight months to fully recuperate and, as late as August, he still was feeling occasional tightness in his stomach.

    But now, with just four games remaining in the season, those issues are long gone. A special pad covers Kruger’s midsection, and he also wears a pad to protect his only kidney.

    “It’s just amazing to watch him out there after all he’s been through,” Jessica said. “He’s my hero. He’s everyone’s hero.”
  11. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    I was reading in one of the Draft magazines (I think Sporting News) that Kruger could possibly play ILB in a 34 as well. (Not sure how true that is)

    He seems pretty versatile in any case.
  12. Woods

    Woods Well-Known Member

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    Very nice story, jterrell.

    I like this bit,

    “He’s a tough kid,” said Paul’s father, Paul Sr., who played at Oregon State. “And when I say tough, I’m talking about mentally tough.”

    We need some fiery, disciplined leaders on this team. Guys who are mentally tough.

    His first question in the hospital was whether he'd ever play football again. You know football is top priority with this guy.
  13. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Yea, in a BP type 3-4 he'd be a solid ILB type. He's a smart player and tackles very well. He was oquite good at tackles behind the line of scrimmage though and I think he is a better player moving forward.

    He's no where near the athlete Carpenter is but he actually likes to hit people.

    My favorite part was where he kept after Alex Smith in practice. To me that says this guy loves to compete and loves the game. He also doesn't back down. Barbie would have certainly followed his star QB to Cabo carrying all the bags....
  14. BAT

    BAT Mr. Fixit

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    LOL. Too true. On another board, Kruger was compared to Justin Smith when he came out. It is a very good observation, but I think Kruger has better intangibles and football IQ. Both are fiery leaders and hustle guys tho.
  15. Bob Sacamano

    Bob Sacamano Benched

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    NFLDS compares him to Aaron Kampman

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