Draft Capsule: DE Joe Kruger

Draft Capsule: DE Joe Kruger

March 17, 2013, 6:00 pm
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Tony Andracki

Joe Kruger (DE), Utah

6-6 | 269 lbs.

2012 Stats:

30 tackles, 8 TFL, 6 sacks, 2 FF, INT

Projection:

7th round/undrafted

Strengths:

Comes from a football family -- brother, Paul, is a linebacker for the Super Bowl Champion Ravens; father played for Oregon State; brother, Dave, just concluded his fourth year as starting DT at Utah. Nice size for NFL with good athleticism (he returned his only INT for a TD last season) and is aided by a long wingspan. Gets off the snap well and is more of a power rusher. High-motor guy and has quick feet and good vision/awareness. Can fit in as a DE in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

Weaknesses:

Has a tendency to let offensive linemen get position on him. Is tall and athletic, but needs to gain more weight for his power style of play. Not enough of a speed guy to live with his 269-pound frame in the NFL. Needs to fine-tune technique with hands and positioning. Solid, but unspectacular college career.

Fit for the Bears:

Kruger seems a bit like a poor man's Shea McClellin, whom the Bears drafted with their first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. McClellin's position for the 2013 season remains to be seen (as he could spend time at outside linebacker in addition to his hand on the ground as a rusher), but he will join All-Pro Julius Peppers and 2012 breakout star Corey Wootton as depth at the DE position. If the Bears re-sign Israel Idonije, they will have four guys who can play DE plus tackle Henry Melton, who can play any position along the defensive line. If the Bears aren't able to re-sign Idonije or add any more depth at a low-maintenance position, Kruger could be a good fit late in the draft or as an undrafted free agent.