Ravens Second-Round Draft Pick: Paul Kruger

Benjamin ButanisContributor IMay 29, 2009

OWINGS MILLS, MARYLAND - MAY 8: Defensive end Paul Kruger #99 of the Baltimore Ravens runs during minicamp at the practice facility on May 8, 2009 in Owings Mills, Maryland. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)

Paul Kruger was drafted with the 57th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, not only is Kruger a big, physical player, he also has one of the most intriguing stories in the NFL.

After redshirting as a quarterback for undefeated Fiesta Bowl champion Utah in 2004, Kruger left college and football behind to embark on a two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints.

When he returned, he played defensive end for the undefeated Sugar Bowl champion Utes in 2008.

By the way, when he was 13, Kruger had a kidney and his spleen removed following a Jeep Wrangler accident.

In Spring 2008, while defending his brother and teammate against a Las Vegas gang, Kruger was stabbed. Doctors found a chipped rib, a nicked artery and a collapsed lung - and a wound that took almost 50 stitches to close.

In other words, he almost died.

In spite of his injuries, Kruger returned to the field in the fall. The result: He was named a first-team All-Mountain West defensive lineman, and received All-American honorable mention honors.

Below are a list of questions I would ask Paul Kruger for a feature story.


How did you like playing quarterback? How does it compare to defensive end?

How difficult was the transition from quarterback (which he played in high school and red-shirted his freshman year) to defensive end?
Both teams you played with at Utah went undefeated. What are your thoughts on the BCS? Should there be a playoff system?

After red-shirting your freshman year, you took a two-year sabbatical for the Church of Latter Day Saints. Where did you go and what did you do?

Were you concerned about maintaining your football physique on the trip? How were you able to stay in shape?

If you had to tell one story about that trip that positively impacted your life, what would it be?

Explain the two large scars on your chest (results of a Jeep accident at 13 and a fight with a gang in 2008).

Without a spleen and kidney (from the first accident) and nearly 50 stitches from the stabbing, how were you able to return to the football field?

What are your thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens? What went through your mind when you received the phone call on draft day?

How do you see yourself fitting in with one of the league's most physical teams?

What are your goals for the 2009 season?