With their first pick in the seventh round, the Eagles took Utah defensive end/outside linebacker Joe Kruger, the brother of Cleveland linebacker Paul Kruger. The 6-7, 275-pounder ran a 4.78 40 at the Combine.
Kruger has played both with his hand in the dirt and standing up. He has some experience dropping into coverage, though did it less this past season.
“I’m pretty good at doing both but if I had to pick I would be a down end,” he said.
Kruger made the decision to enter the draft following his junior year. It came as a surprise to him (and many others) that he fell all the way to the seventh round. He was projected as a potential top-100 pick but did not go until 212.
“I knew I had the potential of slipping to the later rounds. I didn’t want it to happen but I knew it could happen, and it did,” he said. “I’m the one who chose to come out early, so I’m not disappointed. I’m just glad I got drafted. I’m excited. I know what I can do and I’m excited to play with these guys.”
How does his game compare to his brother’s?
“I think we both are powerful players,” he said. “Paul is going to be dropping more and playing more linebacker now that he is with Cleveland. I guess we’ll see what the Eagles have me do. I think we have a similar motor — we both go until the whistle has been blown – and we both have the same mentality. I’m a guy that hates to lose. I really don’t sit well with it.”
Kruger’s pre-draft profile from NFL.com:
Very impressive size. Athletic. Long arms. Plays with power, capable of bull rushing offensive lineman back into the quarterback. Extends his arms and can keep offensive lineman off his frame. Good first step, comes off the ball well. Plays with a firm base. Flows to the football well, and is an effort player. Possesses the ability to redirect.
Kruger posted six sacks and eight tackles for a loss last season.