kearly wrote:I don't see Kruger as a fit. He's a 3-4 OLB in the Steelers/Ravens mold. Courtney Upshaw was a very similar player last year and as it turned out Seattle didn't even have him on their top 3 or 4 for pass rush options. Kruger ran a 4.83 forty at his combine- that's too slow for either our LEO or WLB spots. I'd expect a wounded Chris Clemons to be at least that fast.
My guess is that Seattle ignores LEO/LB in free agency completely and trusts Clemons to recovery while drafting his replacement. DT could get interesting though in FA. There are some interesting names out there plus we have a couple of DTs of our own that are FA's, so it's really hard to predict on that front.
Wow Kip (genuinely surprised reaction), I could NOT disagree with you more on Kruger. First of all,
I'd say that we would both agree that improving the Pass Rush is probably Priority #1 ... and that along with getting another Pass Rushing DE, adding another Linebacker would be another incredibly important element in that department (see Aldon Smith). I would go on to add that unlike the Defensive Line/End position ... Outside Linebacker is a fairly thin position in this year's draft. Outside of Jarvis Jones, there really isn't another LB out there in the draft that you can point to and say that he's a dominant player. Given that, I'd actually expect Seattle to be fairly proactive in Free Agency in taking a look at guys like Kruger. Secondly,
what you're saying about the Ravens defense being incompatible with the Seahawks just simply isn't true. Yes, the Hawks are a 4-3 Defense technically ... but with what they do with the Elephant position especially ... and some of the formations they use ... they have a heck of a lot more in common with those Dick LeBeau 3-4 Defenses than some people might think. Third,
what you're saying about trusting Chris Clemons recovery simply wouldn't be wise IMO. WITH a healthy Chris Clemons on the roster, the Seahawks managed 36 Sacks on the season ... but as we all know, 8 of those came in 1/2 of football in the Green Bay game. If we take away those 8 Sacks, we're left with 24 Sacks in 15 1/2 games of the regular season ... and Clemons had 11.5 of those (1/3 of Seattle's total sacks). Putting that many eggs in the "Clemons will be back to his old self" basket would be a dubious decision. We're talking about a guy who had major knee surgery and will turn 32 years old. I was listening to a former athlete (I believe it was Mike Golic) talk about surgery the other morning and he said something that rang absolutely true. He said that he once met with and talked to former Mariner Darren Bragg, who had just had surgery. Bragg talked to him about "not feeling 100% yet" and Golic gave him some great advice, telling him, "You'll never be 100% ever again. You have to find that new 100%." Absolutely totally right. In 1997, I had elbow surgery to repair a complicated fracture to the head of my radius (near elbow). Before my surgery, I throw a rock, ball, etc. with a lot of zip. After my surgery, though I worked extremely hard in my rehab, I never got that extra zip back - no matter how hard I worked. I had to find that new 100%, which was something more along the lines of 87-90%. For a guy like Chris Clemons who relies upon his speed, that could be quite significant. IF Clemons does come back, I'm highly, highly doubtful we will ever see the same Chris Clemons ever again. Remember what happened to Shawn Alexander when he lost just that fraction of a step. Yes, I agree that the Hawks should and will draft his replacement ... but I'm very nervous about putting any faith in Chris Clemons being his old self again. Lastly,
as far as Kruger himself is concerned, I'm highly surprised that you'd park your chips on 40 time being the determining factor in just how effective he could be as a WLB. Recall if you will a certain MLB on this team who some would argue is the greatest MLB the Seahawks have ever had -- Lofa Tatupu. Lofa didn't exactly burn up the radar gun either, as he consistently ran about a 4.75. But what Lofa DID have was absolutely exceptional ability to diagnose where a play was going to be and to react to it. I believe that Kruger has a similar gift.
Kruger has already shown that he can be effective rushing the QB, as he had 9.0 Sacks in the regular season and 2.5 in the Post-season thus far. He's been a monster out there.
Kruger has also consistently demonstrated that he is very good in space and that he is highly effective in pass coverage.
Another thing to really consider is his potential impact against the run. Think about this -- Seattle already has 2 quicker, faster LB's in K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner. What they don't have is a real beast of a guy like Kruger who weighs in at 270. Recall that first 49ers game in particular where our linebackers got swallowed up by the more physical, manhandling linemen they have. Imagine adding to that LB corps a guy who is a real thumper -- one who can shed those blocks and really put a whallop on opposing running backs. One statistic that I'm surprised that no one has talked about is the fact that the Seahawks finished DEAD LAST in the league in Tackles for Loss (they had 36). The year the Hawks went to the Super Bowl ... they had 50 TFL's. The Seahawks showed a real inability to penetrate in to the opposing backfield and to get home even when they did blitz. Kruger would certainly help in that arena IMO. He's a sure tackler, a relentless attack-minded defender, and extremely hard worker -- he'd fit right in.
As I said, given the dearth of real stud LB's in this year's draft ... I believe that Schneider and company would made a real concerted effort to go after Kruger if he becomes an UFA.