Wake-Up Call: Kruger ‘Hungry’ Entering Year 2

Joe Kruger
The Eagles are adding a 6-6, 290-pound defensive lineman to the mix this season. He has 34 3/8 arms, 10-inch hands, and racked up six sacks, eight tackles for a loss and an interception return for a touchdown his junior season en route to All Pac-12 honors.

Joe Kruger is like a new addition to the Eagles, even though he’s physically been with the team for a year already.

Kruger left Utah a year early to enter the NFL Draft. When Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman used a seventh-round pick on him last April, they knew they were getting a developmental player that could pay dividends down the road. Kruger was anxious to show that he could make an impact immediately but suffered a partially-torn labrum in his shoulder last August and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.




"It was a little bit frustrating just because I felt like I could help out the team last year," said Kruger at the Eagles 18th annual playground build earlier this week.

Instead, the focus turned to rehabbing the injury (he said he was back to full strength by the end of the season), learning the playbook and gearing up for 2014. And here we are. Kruger ended camp at 269 pounds. The Eagles wanted him to bulk up to 290 for his sophomore campaign, and he obliged.

"I feel really good. I feel like I haven't lost any speed, way more powerful, way stronger," he said.

Kruger -- the brother of Browns linebacker Paul Kruger -- is expected to play defensive end in this scheme. The starting spots are currently occupied by Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton, but he's setting his goals high.

"There's things that I can say myself but it's all about performance. I feel confident in my skills -- I think I can become a starter, honestly -- but it all depends on how I play in camp," he said. "I definitely think I can be one of the top players on the defensive line but I just have to stay healthy, keep working hard getting the defense down and perform when the time comes."

Even if he doesn't chase down a starting spot, there is certainly opportunity to become part of the rotation -- especially with Clifton Geathers departing in free agency. Kruger will be competing against the likes of Vinny Curry, Brandon Bair and whomever else the Eagles add between now and September for playing time.

"I'm excited to get back out there, man," he said. "I'm hungry."

WHAT YOU MISSED

 "[T]hey are going to be ready for it this year. I know that." New challenges ahead for Nick Foles. 

The latest draft daily focuses on outside linebacker and tight ends.

Sheil writes that under Kelly, the Eagles have adjusted how they allocate resources.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Andrew Kulp of the 700 Level sees Washington State safety Deone Buchanon as a possible second-round target for the Eagles -- assuming he lasts that long.

Bucannon finished among the top three at his position in just about every drill there is—40-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump and three-cone drill. At 6’1”, 211 pounds, he also came in bigger than most of the safeties invited to Indianapolis. Based on measureables alone, Bucannon is a superior athlete to both Clinton-Dix and Pryor.

In addition to being a tremendous physical specimen, Bucannon was highly productive in four seasons at Washington State, recording 15 interceptions, 23 pass breakups and seven forced fumbles. He led the Pac-12 in tackles and interceptions as a senior.

Geoff Mosher projects Pittsburgh wideout Devin Street as a late-round option for the Birds.

Remember, the Eagles also released Jason Avant. They need more than just one wideout. Street lacks top-end speed but you can’t knock his production. He started for the past three seasons and left as the school’s all-time leader with 202 receptions.

Street isn’t a burner, but he’s a good downfield blocker who makes good adjustments to catch errant passes and does much of his damage underneath, which makes him a logical replacement for Avant.

COMING UP

One week until the draft. We'll get it cranked up.

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  • Dominik

    Sooo great to finally read something about him. Thanks a lot, Tim!

    We read so many times that he could be a steal in round 7. They parked him on IR for a year and I’m really curious how ready he is. He could easily take the snaps Gaethers or Square had last season – if he shows enough improvement. And that would be great, because the Eagles will probably pick a late rounder or sign an UDFA for this position – and the less dependent we are about the rookie, the better for the D-Line rotation.

    • dnabrice

      Lost all respect for Square after he got busted up on that block last year. Yeah, he wasn’t watching, but, come on man……..

      • All Things Bad@ss

        Straight up embarrassing.

      • All In Eagles

        He also got jacked up by Murray (not sure if this is what you’re referencing but this wasn’t a block). Murray straight up destroyed him when he put his head down.

  • NickS1

    I hope we got the right brother for once. This kid has the physical makings to be a monster for a long time. At only 21 years old, there’s a lot of terrorizing Griffin to be done.

  • JosephR2225

    “suffered a partially-torn labrum in his shoulder last August and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.”

    ————————-
    Yeah… sure he did.

    • Richard Colton

      “injury”

      • George

        *dr. evil voice*

    • G_WallyHunter

      Should read “was shut down before the season to be Huls first full-time experiment in the basement”

      • Corey Dawson

        I’m gonna call him Ser Robert Strong.

      • Joe from Easton

        They wanted him to bulk up to 290, and he obliged… I love that… Sure, I’ll just add 20+ lbs of pure muscle. Huls hulked this guy the F%*! up! He’s got beast mode written all over him.

        • G_WallyHunter

          Really can’t wait to see what he’s got in PS, SUCH AN UNKNOWN!!

        • All In Eagles

          Haha, agree. I can’t wait either, this guy can be so dominant.

      • Maggie

        It’s alive! IT’S ALI-I-VE!!!!

  • Tom W

    Kruger! Wonder if he allows us to avoid drafting Brent urban or mauro. Hart could still come in as a udfa. Hope we get the chance to draft Brandon Thomas or Colvin late and let them recover for a year and not the niners. This kid is gonna be a beast

  • G_WallyHunter

    Anyone who is all bummed about our 6 picks, just consider this an extra 7th rounder for total of 7 picks, damn, can’t wait to see what this kids got too. We’ve been talking about him for months in these comments and T+S do what they do best, listen to the readers..

    • DetmerWonAHeisman

      Hope this guy turned into a monster in his RedShirt season. Kruger “Nightmare on Broad Street” !

    • Johnny Domino

      Another reason to listen if somebody wants to give a pick(s) for Curry on draft day.

      • G_WallyHunter

        Bingo, get another pick and have him replaced by kroogz

      • shady25

        I don’t think Curry I’d going anywhere. He made a role on this defense and I can see him contributing even more this year.

        • cliff henny

          I don’t see Curry either. what is his reasonable price in draft pick, 5th or 6th? then have to fill the hole he leaves, while still not knowing his ceiling/ Eagles. Graham and Brown are only 2 guys I think Eags should be fielding offers. and take pretty much anything in 6th or better, cause can get better fits that replace their ’13 production-pretty easy since it wasn’t much.

        • Johnny Domino

          Fair point. I don’t tale a 6th or 7th there, but if someone who thinks as highly as you of him offers better, I’d have to consider that.

    • shady25

      Don’t forget about Travis Long. He can be viewed as another pick. Also Keelan Johnson. These 3 guys already know the defense so they should be ready to go from Day 1 of OTAs and training camp. So that would be 3 extra picks (Kruger, Long, Johnson) taking the total up to 9.

      • cliff henny

        pretty excited to see all these guys, add Kaddu in there too. I always come back to Wolff, but the fact that they made him look at least nfl capable in 6 months compared to college tape, i’m not ruling out any young guy with this coaching staff.

        • shady25

          Yeah I think Wolff beats out Nate Allen. It’s time for some fresh faces back there. I think Jenkins and Wolff will work well together. All about communicating on the backend and I think these 2 will work well together.

          • cliff henny

            he’ll be given every opportunity, bet he’s pencil’d in as starter day 1. and if it’s even close, Wolff wins on upside. he really could be a player

    • cliff henny

      even better, think of it as an extra 3rd/4th. kid stays another year at Utah, healthy, he would have played himself up the draft board.

  • JAMIN67

    I’m really anxious to see what this kid can do. If he pans out, having him and Curry adds really nice depth on the D Line.

    • shady25

      Yes. Totally agree here. Think DL will be even better in year 2.

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    excited to see Kruger!! don’t fall asleep

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    ced cox kruger and curry at de. sounds nice to me. big strong hungry d ends. I still think their main need is at OLB. other than barwin and trent I don’t see a disruptive playmaker. hope that like others said Barr falls.

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    I wanna see a nice A.Benn. article. Nick mentioned him the other day being healthy. he is a big weapon and playmaker. his deal has always been his health. hope our doctors and training staff got him going right. can be very productive in this offense. still only 25.

    • cliff henny

      ACL repairs have come so far in last 5 yrs, i’m more worried about Benn’s hands than his knee

      • Brent E. Sulecki

        amen. and his mind

    • Kev_H

      Boy I’m with you on that. Between all the writing on what Chip wants and why did they “really” cut Jackson, you’d think we’d see more on Benn’s status. It has been reported that the Eagles were shopping Jackson before last year and we know they traded for Benn. So that, and Benn’s rehab, seem to be a part of the story. They could have swapped out a story on Benn with one of the many containing nonsense speculation about a NJ.com blog post. I think these guys get lost in echo chambers sometimes.

      • anon

        They wrote a story about Benn a couple of weeks ago. Basically him saying it is what it is he hopes he can play, etc. It’s not like we’ll get weekly updates of what he’s doing in rehab – he’s not that caliber of player (and the organization is pretty secretive)

        • mtn_green

          Not much to say about Benn until reporters can see him on the field and even then might not know much till pads in TC. All wr look like gods till the pads come on.

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            ex.. Momah

          • anon

            Remember how much hype he had. Then he played like a b****.

        • Kev_H

          I follow this pretty closely and can’t find anything in the search results. Are you sure? Following the Eagles since they got Chip Kelly has been fascinating for me- I didn’t know much about Chip Kelly, so I read up on him after the hire and what the beat reporters are on about is usually at great odds to what he is about and the moves he eventually made. I.E. Kelly is coming here and Vick and Jackson are perfect fits…now they are gone and they never seemed like perfect fits given what Kelly has stated he values in positions and players.

          I might be way off, but now I’m thinking that it could very well be the case that Benn was a big part of last year’s plans, got hurt, and is physically back on track. If that is true, there should be a lot more written about him and his health status vs. whatever old and rehashed stories about gang affiliations and missed meetings when it comes to assessing why Jackson was cut, who the Eagles will draft and how they will approach the position this year.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Plus, they traded for him. Didn’t inherit him. I don’t believe they’re gonna make him a star, but he could very well have been a factor in their plans on how they wanted to execute the offense. Not that he changes anything drastically or has some ridiculous skill set, but they could’ve had bigger plans for the kid.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            he doesnt deserve anythinhg written about him, he didnt make it to preseason, the guy is staring at the end of his career.

          • Kev_H

            Yeah he’s accomplished what Michael Irvin accomplished at the same age – a promising player who can’t stay healthy. At 25 he has plenty of time to get healthy and live up to his promise. He has produced when healthy and was the first receiver Chip spent resources on.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            huh? how many acls did michael irvin tear?? lol.. and.. wait did u just compare irvin to benn? lmfao gtfoh.. his career is all b ut over.

          • Kev_H

            ACLs are no big deal for young players. If they were, RGIII wouldn’t have been drafted and if he was, the Redskins would be desperately seeking a QB right now. It’s 2014 not 1975.

          • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

            ok.. but he had a lot more injuries then the ACls.. lol.. Benn is soft. Dont count on him at all in anyway,, infact pretend he isnt on the team.

    • Spruce Goose

      I hate to send anyone away from birds 24/7 but Mike Kaye has been doing a series of articles on Benn’s recovery. I think its called “On the mend.”

      • Kev_H

        Thanks!

    • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

      forget about benn, he was never good

  • Scott J

    Kruger and Benn are two players I’m interested in watching this summer. Of course theres the yearly corner and safety watch, hoping someone steps up plays well.

    • shady25

      I am interested in a lot of players in year 2. I want to see something out of Travis Long, Jake Knott, Najee Goode, Momah!!, Benn, Kruger, B.J. Cunningham.

      This is very important because these guys have been around and will probably be counted on to contribute this year because we only have 6 picks and teams aren’t giving up their draft picks like years in the past.

      • dnabrice

        Can’t wait for the practices to start. Momah did not look good in them when I had seen him, so we’ll see if he’s improved otherwise, it’s time to move on.

      • Richard Colton

        Flotsam and Jetsam.

        If we’re depending on any of those guys (excepting Kruger – he’s unknown) to make significant contributions on anything other than special teams, we’re in trouble. If more than two of those guys are even on the 53 man roster, we did a bad job improving team depth through draft & UFAs.

        And most importantly (and I can’t overstate this) Momah sucks.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I think this UDFA class will be a more prosperous group and knock some of those guys off the depth chart. Championship teams are built at the top and bottom. That’s why I have been saying that this draft class needs to produce some stars, especially since we’re light on picks & we don’t go shopping for Ferraris in FA.

          • borntosuffer

            Yep. The fact that the Birds don’t have many draft picks and the depth of the draft this season will give the UDFA’s more opportunities this year.

        • Maggie

          Flotsam while here, jetsam when ejected.

        • shady25

          2 years ago we were saying the same thing about Cedric Thornton. One of those guys has to step up and make some kind of contribution other than ST. Najee Goode did a decent job last year filling in for Kendricks when he went down and has earned the coaches trust. If we can get similar contribution like that from one of these guys, I think that would be a success. These are also guys that this coaching staff brought in. So they will be given every opportunity to atleast make the active roster on game day and if your number is called, don’t screw up.

          • Richard Colton

            good point about Ced. He needed to grow into his body and develop; that’s why I’m hopeful about Kruger. Goode and Knott to me are just guys. You know who they are at this point. And Mohmah…maybe its just me…but he’s the classic “looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” guy.

          • shady25

            Yeah, okay. I’m with you on Momah. I was just chalking that up to rust from being out of football. We’ll see about him. Think Knott might be a ST guy but now that Phillips is back I don’t know. I think they want more speed in the middle of the field so I think Goode has a shot because of that. Don’t be surprised to hear Ryan Shazier’s name called for the 22nd pick because of that or Kyle Van Noy in the 2nd. I like Demeco, god knows it’s hard to find a MLB with the instincts he plays with. The problem is, most guys don’t develop those instincts until later in their careers when they have lost a step. From going to Eagles Academy over the weekend it sure as hell seems like they are expecting Kendricks to take a major leap this year and will try to get Demeco off the field on 3rd down and see if Goode can handle 3rd down duty. We’ll see.

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    9 wr currently on roster. I would say momah.damaris,murphy,smith,cunnigham gone. leaving Mac.Coop.Benn.Maehl. draft pick 1-3 rounds filling out the wr core. unless one of the above cuts make huge leaps and or Benn and Maehl cant produce or get hurt.

    • anon

      smith plays more than maehl

    • Maggie

      Gotta keep a couple for camp bodies.

  • myeaglescantwin

    He just needs to keep adding strength. The rest will follow.
    i firmly believe his progress is the reason that Thorton only got a 1 year extension.

    • cliff henny

      thornton was rfa (since udfa only sign 3yr contracts, cba puts in this 1 yr rfa clause to put them on equal footing w/ all other draft picks make teams), that’s all Eagles had to sign him for, eagles were literally negotiating against themselves. Ced either signed it or didnt play, no in between. wouldn’t read into contract that much.

      • mtn_green

        Geathers was not offered a contract though.

        • Richard Colton

          yes he was…spokesman for Golden Corral

  • John G

    “Kruger Hungry”…. That’s something to get a little excited for. That kid has the potential to make some noise.

  • borntosuffer

    I demand to know why Geathers was not resigned. Why haven’t the Eagle’s brass commented on this? I think they are using his association with the Volunteer Fire Fighters against him. But, seriously, I thought he was pretty productive last year, no? You guys who follow this stuff more closely please educate me so I stop talking out of my lack of knowledge.

    • Maggie

      As you may have noticed? the Eagles seldom comment on players they have released or let walk. They really only said something about Vick and Avant. In both cases, it was to praise them.

      • borntosuffer

        Yea, that part was truly a joke. But, I would be interested in a few opinions as to why they let him walk.

  • Septhinox

    Wait, who is Brandon Bair?

    • IAteLunchToday

      I actually went to church with him. I wasn’t friends with him, though. He played for the UO.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    in the best WR draft (maybe ever) Geoff mosher wants us to get 2 bums… lol… someone take mosher away from mock drafts, they guy sucks

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    get me 2 WRs and trent murphy thru the 1st 3 rounds.. and im good.