NFL Draft: Utah's Joe Kruger picked by Eagles
Joe Kruger finally heard his name called in the NFL Draft, as the former Utah defensive end was selected by Philadelphia in the seventh round Saturday.
Kruger, who left Utah a year early, had been projected by some as an early-round pick.
However, the 6-foot-6, 269-pound defensive end slipped farther than most thought he would. He was the 28th defensive end taken in the draft.
"It was a little bit scary," Kruger said of the long wait. "I wasn't expecting to wait that long. I knew there was a chance I could slip to a low round, so I prepared myself, and that obviously happened."
Kruger finished his junior year with 30 tackles, including eight for a loss. He led the Utes with six sacks.
Joe's older brother, Paul, was selected in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft by Baltimore after a standout career at Utah. He signed a 5-year, $40 million deal with Cleveland in March after helping Baltimore win the Super Bowl.
Joe watched the draft at his family's home along with Paul and his other older brother, Dave.
"I've just been chilling with the family," he said. "I'm excited to get out there and start training. I'm excited to be an Eagle."
Kruger was the second Utah player drafted in 2013. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was drafted by Carolina with the 14th overall pick on Thursday, becoming Utah's fourth-highest overall draft choice.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Kruger would be a good fit with Eagles coach Chip Kelly, knowing his personality.
"I don't know their system very well, but Joe is a Chip Kelly kind of guy," Whittingham said. "He is a blue-collar, hard-working, no-nonsense individual and that is what Chip Kelly likes."
Whittingham believes Kruger will succeed in the NFL because of his big wingspan and speed at rushing the passer.
"He is young and so he has a lot of room for development, too," Whittingham said.