Pros: Has a good motor and a nice ﬁrst step off the edge. Shows some quickness to beat blocker and turn the corner. Uses his hands very well. Shows a rudimentary spin move off the edge. Moves well in space and can drop off into coverage. Can make the tackle in the open ﬁeld. Plays well in pursuit and uses his hands to get nice leverage vs. the run at the point of attack.
Cons: Will miss some stops once he turns the corner, as he doesn't have great pop coming off the corner. Not consistently explosive off the edge.
Overview: Kruger lines up all over the place for Utah, playing a hybrid end/linebacker role. He also plays some ﬁve technique as well. He can rush the quarterback with his hand on or off the ground, but tends to be more effective at the latter. He arrived at Utah as a quarterback in 2004 and then spent two years on his mission. When he came back he was moved to defensive end where he started in 2007. After the season he was involved in a stabbing in which he was stabbed twice in the ribs and abdomen, nearly costing him his life. He returned this past year and had a career high 7.5 sacks.
NFL Forecast: Kruger could potentially play both end or linebacker at the next level. In order to play end, he'll have to bulk up. He won't be an explosive pass rusher off the edge if that is the case, but he's effective there mainly because of his hand use and technique rather than just beating blockers with speed. So he should continue to be effective even if he weighed more than 275 pounds. More than likely, Kruger will be a nice guy that can consistently get 5-8 sacks per year, but not much more. His greatest potential probably lies at outside linebacker in the 3-4 however as he has good size and natural ability in space to make plays there. He could probably slim down somewhat to around 255 to play there however. He has the potential to be a nice pass rusher at linebacker and while his sack numbers may not rise much than they would be at end, he'd be able to make much more plays there. As an end, Kruger reminds me of Justin Smith. As a linebacker, I think he has the potential to be a similar player to Adalius Thomas.
ATL Forecast: Kruger has the potential to start at either linebacker or end, but is probably more sorely needed at end. He could be developed as a nice left end that serves as a situational pass rusher for a year or two before he would surpass Davis as the starter at that spot. As a linebacker, he'd likely sit for at least a year behind Nicholas before challenging and potentially taking that spot. Eventually, he'd take the job from Nicholas which would then allow him to move over to the other side. His impact as a pass rusher would be much less as a linebacker, but he should make an effective starter with development there. Regardless, Kruger would be a capable starter for the Falcons, although probably not an elite option for the team at either position.
Value: Kruger is a solid second round talent that should be taken in the middle to late portion of the round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
PASS RUSH: 3.0
POINT OF ATTACK: 3.0
Scouting Reports of defensive ends in the 2009 NFL Draft.
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