Paul Kruger Selection Press Conference Transcript




**Ozzie Newsome** Opening Statement:

"In the second round, we had a lot of conversation about people wanting us to trade out of the second round and get some additional picks in the third and the fourth rounds. We debated it. We talked it over as a staff and got back on the phone with the two or three teams that we were talking to, but as we got to our pick, we felt that Paul [Kruger] was a Raven. He plays like a Raven. He provides a guy who can play in our front seven. One of the things we set out to do this offseason was to put some additional heat on the quarterback, particularly the guy that plays up in Pittsburgh [Ben Roethlisberger], and we feel that Paul does that for us. We think he has a big-time ceiling because he's going to get bigger. So, he's a guy who can play anywhere from an outside linebacker to a defensive end over the course of the next three years. I saw what he did to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, so I had that in my mind."

**Eric DeCosta** Opening Statement:

"Paul is a guy that was a redshirt sophomore that came out early this year. He's a tough guy, a tenacious guy. He's got a great motor. I think he's a guy that's going to have a chance to play defensive end, possibly SAM backer, possibly rush backer. He's good with his hands. You guys know that we love tough football players on defense, and he fits the bill. He's a guy we really like. He was a 'red star' for us this year. You guys know the history of that and us taking 'red star' players. We're very excited to get him. I think he's going to help us a lot and develop into a really good player."

**John Harbaugh** Opening Statement:

"I just want to echo what everyone has said. He is going to fit into our locker room, he's going to fit into our defense. Our defensive coaches can't wait to get started with him. He's going to be a pass rusher for sure. He might be a SAM linebacker, he might be a rush backer, we'll just have to see once he gets on the field. He's a really good football player."

Was this pick something that required extra digging into his medical history because of his kidney and spleen issues?

(DeCOSTA) "He was at the Combine. Our doctors had a comfort level with him. There have been many players that have played with one kidney. We've got the best trainers in the NFL and they have a comfort level with him. So for us it's not really an issue. He can play with it, and he's going to be a good player for us."

How athletic is he? From your description, he sounds like Adalius Thomas…

(NEWSOME) "He is a hybrid. Our front seven is where we've had success with guys who have the potential to play with their hand in the dirt and play up on their feet. So he fits our mold of a player, and with Greg [Mattison] and Vic [Fangio] and C.B. [Clarence Brooks], at some point we'll find a home for him. It's a little bit easier for us to pick players in the front seven of the defense because of the flexibility of the defense."

Do you envision him as a guy that can play on one side with Terrell Suggs on the other as far as rushing the quarterback?

*(DeCOSTA) *"I think Paul is a guy that, in an ideal situation, will keep getting bigger and stronger. He was only at Utah for three years as a redshirt sophomore. He's got a tall frame. He's about 6-4, 265 pounds, and we'd like to see him somewhere around 285 and be a left defensive end. But the thing is, he has dropped [into coverage]. You guys have probably seen the highlights of the interceptions. He can do that. He can play in a two-point stance."

When we talked to him, he was surprised he fell as low as he did and he was surprised to hear from the Ravens. Was this just a matter of you guys doing the homework?

(NEWSOME) "We reviewed him at the Combine and we get a comfort level with certain players where we don't feel a need to do a follow-up, and we just build our board. He was somebody that we targeted. He was somebody that, when Steve [Bisciotti] asked us if we traded back from 26, who would be some of the players that we would target, and he was one of the guys we felt would be a big part of it if there was a trade back."

Do you feel there will still be some good college wide receivers there tomorrow?

(NEWSOME) "You probably could sit here three or four years from now and some receiver who gets picked [tomorrow] will be playing in the Pro Bowl, but I can't tell you who. If I could, I wouldn't be here. I think we still have a good board. I think Eric has been quoted as saying that there are receivers that we could take in any round of the draft."

Do you remember a situation like this where a player made a quarterback-to-defensive end transition like Kruger?

(NEWSOME) "I've heard that before, but I can't tell you who. I've been around a few days. But I have heard about kids who were a quarterback and ended up on the defensive side of the ball."

You said you discussed trading this pick. Was there any discussion of trading this pick for a player on another team?

(NEWSOME) "No, that was never for another player. That was for picks in tomorrow's draft and for picks in next year's draft."

Assess Day One overall…

*(NEWSOME) *"I think any time you can help yourself on the offensive and defensive line, you help your football club. As coach said earlier, the game is won in the trenches. The game is won with your ability to protect the quarterback and sack the quarterback, and I think we've been able to attack both of those areas."

(DeCOSTA) "We got tougher. We got two really good character guys who can be foundation players for us in the locker room, in the weight room, in the offseason and on the field on Sundays."

(HARBAUGH) "I don't think we filled holes. I don't think we had holes in those two spots to fill. I think we just got guys who are going to make this team better. You're going to like these two guys. You're going to like them in the locker room, you're going to like them when you meet them. Our players are going to respect them and they're going to help us win a lot of games."

Is it reassuring to know the success this organization has had with free agency after the draft?

(DeCOSTA) "We're getting ready for that. One of the things we're going to do tonight is go upstairs and restack the board and get ready for tomorrow. I think more than ever, we've done a lot more work to get ready for the undrafted guys. We've done some new things this year – not to give any secrets away – that I think are going to pay dividends. Our coaches really care about it. Our scouts really care about it. We have had some success. Jameel McClain last year is a great example. And we've challenged our guys to go out and find the next Jameel McClain this year."

Both of your draft picks today have overcome extraordinary circumstances. Do you think that their examples could make the older guys hungrier?

(NEWSOME) "I feel like those two players, because of their backgrounds, their upbringing, will just add to our locker room. But I don't think the players that we have on this football team… I don't think Ray Lewis needs to get any better. Ed [Reed], those guys are off the charts. I think these two guys will just add to that."

Would you like to have more than three picks tomorrow? Will you work on that?

(NEWSOME) "We were very close to having probably five or six picks tomorrow. We were that close. There's no doubt by the time it starts tomorrow, 10 o'clock, the phone will be ringing and someone will want our 88th pick, and some other stuff will be going on. Whether we have three picks tomorrow, or six picks, or we only pick two players, we will add two good players or three good players or four good players to our football team tomorrow."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content