As we get closer to the NFL Draft this week, there’s a lot of press about who is going to be at the top of the 2011 class. Today, National Football Post presented their top 100 prospects and three Hawkeyes made the cut.
Adrian Clayborn came in at No.26; Christian Ballard was No. 61 and Ricky Stanzi rounded out the Hawkeyes at No. 72.Â Missing from the list but still hopeful about making it to the NFL? Karl Klug.Â Part of Iowa’sÂ strong defensive line in 2010, he’s been a little overshadowed byÂ Clayborn and Ballard.
The 6’3″, 275 Klug attended the NFL Combine in February and thisÂ high school running backÂ ran a 4.77 40 (vs a top time of 4.62) and bench pressed 22 (vs a top score of 35). Teams that expressed interest in the lineman included the Green Bay Packers (a fit for their 3-4 defense), New England Patriots (reminiscent of Dan Klecko?) and Tampa Bay.
His overview from the combine wasÂ the following:
Klug was a defensive tackle in college but is a ‘tweener at the next level whose likely destination is as a strong-side end in a 4-3 or 3-4 five-technique.Â Has impressive quickness off the ball, incredibly active and fast hands, and outstanding competitiveness.Â Uses his get off to beat offensive lineman to their spot.Â Hands are always moving to get off blocks and pursue the ball-carrier or get in position to bat down passes.Â However, he lacks the explosiveness to consistently apply pressure and is not a dominant anchor.Â Klug may need to wait until Day 3, but he’ll be drafted.
A few weeks later, Klug participated in Iowa’s first Pro Day and recorded the following statistics:
- 40 -Â 4.81 and 4.83
- Vertical -Â 29 Â½-inch
- Broad jump – 9-5 broad jump
- Short shuttle -Â 4.60
- Three-cone drill -Â 7.01
- Bench press – 21 reps
In Monday’s Cedar Rapids Gazette, Klug was included in an article with Ballard and Clayborn; yes, he wasÂ listed as the forgotten one.
But maybe this is untrue.
â€œI love Klug,â€ said NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock. â€œHeâ€™s the guy that nobody talks about on that very, very highly publicized defensive line, and he may have been the best collegiate player out of all of them. That doesnâ€™t mean heâ€™s going to be the best NFL player, though.â€
Why the skepticism? Klug is “small” for a pro defensive tackle and there’s also the question of whether he could play linebacker.
Mayock continued to question Klug’s future success:
Heâ€™s a tweener where teams are going to have to work hard to find him (a spot),â€ Mayock said. â€œI donâ€™t think he can stand up. Heâ€™s not fast enough to play on the edge. But despite being undersized, heâ€™s going to have to play inside, and I think teams are going to have to find creative times to use him, third down, nickel, etc. I think heâ€™s going to go in the fourth or fifth round. He was one of my favorite players all year to watch.â€
Should the competitiveÂ trio all get drafted, itÂ will be a first for Iowa to have three defensive linemen drafted by NFL teams in the same year. In an article written during the combine, Klug was quoted as saying he’d just like a chance.
â€œIf Iâ€™m Mr. Irrelevant, Iâ€™d be happy,â€ said Klug, referring to the nickname for the last name picked in Aprilâ€™s draft.
I hope he gets his chance, along with other Hawkeye NFL hopefuls including Tyler Sash, Julian Vandervelde, Jeff Tarpinian,Â and Ryan Donahue.