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Klug Surprised Opponents, NFL in 2011

Posted by Gary Glenn on March 8, 2012 – 11:38 pm

At 6-foot-3, 275 pounds, Karl Klug is not your prototypical defensive tackle. While his lack of size at the position may have scared off some teams in last year’s draft, the Titans were thrilled he was still available when they made their selection in the fifth round.

Little did they know Klug would produce at such a high level early on in his NFL career.

He played in all 16 games (one start) and led the team with seven sacks, 32 tackles, 10 QB pressures, two tackles for loss, four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. One of Klug’s best games came against New Orleans when he sacked Saints QB Drew Brees twice at LP Field.

Klug was the second of three defensive tackles taken by the Titans in 2011 (Jurrell Casey and Zach Clayton were the others) and part of an overall draft class that made huge contributions and exceeded most everyone’s expectations last season.

Titans head coach Mike Munchak calls Klug a “natural” pass rusher that will play a big role on Tennessee’s defense line in 2012.

“When you turn the tape on, he’s a guy that can beat somebody 1-on-1. A lot of d-linemen just can’t do that consistently like he can,” Munchak said. “He’s great with his hands, has great body control…that’s what we saw on the draft tape and that’s what we’re seeing now.”

Klug compensates for his lack of size with a combination of quickness and wrestling maneuvers he learned while competing in high school.

“I think that’s helped me out a lot,” Klug said. “Even though that was in high school, I still think that’s helped me up to this point as far as being aggressive with my hands, understanding leverage and playing underneath the guy. In wrestling, you are constantly in an athletic stance. You have bent knees. That’s how you want to play football — you don’t want to stand straight-legged.”

At times Klug catches larger offensive linemen off-guard.

“I’m assuming they’re probably licking their chops when they see my skinny (butt),” Klug said.

But Klug’s production in college — 9.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss during his final two seasons at Iowa — didn’t get past Titans scouts and key decision makers.

“Maybe some teams have size parameters, and so they put those guys lower on their draft board,” Titans GM Ruston Webster said. “I think everybody saw that he was a good football player. He went to the East-West (game), he did well. His tape was good. He stood out on a very good college defensive line and made a lot of plays for them. It’s just when do you take that guy that’s a little bit undersized, and how do you play him?”

Munchak credits Webster and former Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt for finding players like Klug that fit the Titans’ system. With a little more upper body strength, Munchak believes Klug can become an excellent player in this league.

“It’s up to us to keep developing him and getting him to play more,” Munchak said. “He played a lot inside. We limited him a little more last year to passing downs. He could probably work on his upper-body this year to gain some weight to help him dramatically. But he’s a great kid, a great guy to have on your team. He led our team in sacks last year and he can up that number every year. He’s a special guy that really has a chance to make a difference in this league.”


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Posted in titansonline.com Blog | 17 Comments »


17 Responses to “Klug Surprised Opponents, NFL in 2011”

  1. By EBTITAN on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    GOOD PICK WITH A SOLID YEAR. CONGRATS #97,JUST ONE LESS TO WORRY ABOUT,TITANS BRASS LET’S HAVE ANOTHER GREAT DRAFT. LETS BUILD A NASTY DEFENSE BAM!!!!

  2. By addicted2football on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    Klug is a beast, would love to see him switched to DE.

  3. By addicted2football on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    Oh and BTW, lets not forget about 4th round phenom Colin McCarthy who WILL be our starting MLB in 2012!!!!

  4. By joe on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    this guy is a monster love the way he plays in big games. jake locker got most of credit for almost winning saints game as he should have but klug also had a big part sacking brees twice on third down. this guy should be a huge part of an improving D line next year GOOOOO TITANSSSS

  5. By NICKtheTITAN on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    Klug representing IOWA well!! From a huge Hawkeye and Titan fan, keep up the great work!!

  6. By Anthony on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    Pick 1 #20 – Whitney Mercilus or Peter Konz
    Mercilus DE, Illinois is said to be a “one year wonder” but you just don’t have a year like he had. It takes time and work and he put all of it together and had a breakout year. Think back to Derrick Morgan & JPP who won out on that deal? Morgan is on the verge of being a bust if he doesn’t have a solid year and JPP has a Super bowl ring and not just because he was sitting on the sidelines. Anyways, Mercilus has all the tangibles and has a solid combine performance and if he has a great pro day I say you will be hearing is name when pick #20 comes around on draft day. Not to mention he has a pretty cool name. When he makes a big play LP Field will turn into the Colosseum. MERCILUS MERCILUS MERCILUS
    Konz, C Wisconsin yeah it’s not a sexy pick but guess what it’s a sure thing! You know exactly what you’re getting and he can start from day one plus he makes the o-line so much better. Then with the skills Konz already has then add in both Munchak’s and Matthews as mentors. You’re looking at having a really good center for years plus you pair him with Titans young franchise Quaterback in Jake Locker. Good Stuff.
    Only two players change those two picks and they are David Decastro OG Stanford, I know it’s not likely he falls all the way to 20 but hey a team takes a QB early some guys move up boards at needed positions he falls to 20 the Titans pull the trigger he fixes the line immediately and far in the future. He’s David Decastro enough said! The other guy who may change it is Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame, now there isn’t a need for WR but Floyd could be a beast at the next level. Again I know probably not there at 20 but I’ve seen a lot of mock drafts that have him going to the Bears at 19 so if that’s the case then it’s not too far fetch to say he falls to 20. Pair him with Britt, Washington, Hawkins, Williams and then you have Johnson in the backfield and Locker at QB you’re looking at an offense that will be comparable with the Packers offense if not better when everything is working on all cylinders.

  7. By jim buchanan on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    Klug is a beast, to lead the titans in sacks in 2011 and you know he’s working hard in the off season as fast as he is i think he could play DE. i think he has a great future with the titans.

  8. By aguilard on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    I like what I see in him and hope he keeps it up.GO TITANS!!

  9. By Darrius on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    We need our defensive end this year! I wish Ingram can fall to us at 20, but that is a long shot!

  10. By Darrius on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    Also I see that alshon jeffery stock has been falling, but please don’t let it fool you, He’s tall and would be great for us man! He’ll be a tough cover with Britt healthy!

  11. By seminn on Mar 9, 2012 | Reply

    Defensive Coordinator for Iowa said he wished he had 10 more Klug’s. Titans played their cards right and selected one fine man. His character and his roots of a small town will never die. Thanks Karl for your continued chatter in Caledonia, Mn. and just look at the success and the goals you have given your hometown kids. Discipline and desire are huge we wish you nothing but great NFL history. You deserve the best!

  12. By EBTITAN on Mar 10, 2012 | Reply

    ANTHONY THATS FUNNY I HAVE BEEN EYEING THOSE TWO OL MYSELF AS THE PICK.

  13. By layne28 on Mar 11, 2012 | Reply

    Our needs stretch so far across the board its hard to know where to start but we need to help Klug out next year and start at DE. I ALSO WOULD LIKE TO HAVE THE O-LINE UPGRADED. Just ready to see if our rookies from last year progress into Pro bowl players. I would love to see Klug and Casey be a real force in the middle of our line.

  14. By fraklinpjr on Mar 12, 2012 | Reply

    yes anthony r offensne will b great this year in my opinion its o-line(like u said) or saftey

  15. By barry38372 on Mar 15, 2012 | Reply

    we need to put jurrell on one corner ,let kiug be the other rusher , draft us a big nasty dt that wiil rough up the qb a little bit , but with no baggage . and the titans were stupid we let our best cb go for nothing , what are the titans doing ,im confused

  16. By Shane on Mar 19, 2012 | Reply

    Wut about moving him out… I know wut they say if it is not broke don’t fix it.
    Pick up Henderson to play nose and keep DTs then have our DE Morgan should be healthy this year, with exp. Could work…just a thought…neone else have opinions?

  17. By Steve M on Mar 27, 2012 | Reply

    When I saw Klug’s name come across the screen saying the Titans had drafted him last year, I jumped up and yelled “YES!!!!” because I felt then he could be the steal of the draft. Watched a lot of his games playing for Iowa, and knew he could come in and play, and knew he could fit in the line well. …Having watched him in college and last year with the Titans, I think he could play both inside and outside on the line, but seeing how well he played at DT last year, I’d lean towards keeping him there for the bulk of his snaps. That being said though, I’d love for him to switch out some and play DE from time to time, just to see how effective he can be out there when paired up with Casey, Marks, Smith, and all the others at DT. Ultimately though, I’d love to see the Titans draft up to 3 DE’s this year, and not all necessarily coming in the early rounds. I’d personally suggest a guy like Malik Jackson out of UT, who like Klug, can play inside and outside on the line. He would also help out against the run, and isn’t a work in progress having played lots of snaps all 4 years in college (at both USC and UT). I also love Jared Crick out of Nebraska. He too is in this same mold of players, but with even more speed and explosiveness. He’s also a hometown kid, so you know he’d love to be here. Hopefully he’ll still be around in the 2nd Round at pick 52. Nick Perry and Vinny Curry are also good choices, but I wouldn’t spend a first rounder on either. And a later round (5th or higher) option could be someone like Frank Alexander out of OU who could provide good depth and strength against the run.

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