Congratulations, Tennessee Titans fans! You've made the wonderful decision to draft Karl Klug! Like any responsible selector, you're no doubt filled with questions about your new draft pick. We here at Black Heart Gold Pants will try our best to answer any questions you might have.
Is this Karl Klug guy any good? You bet yer bottom dollar he was good. Klug came to Iowa as a lightly-regarded 2* LB from Caledonia, MN and left as a two-year starter who earned all-Big Ten honors after both his junior and senior seasons. In fact, you can make a pretty persuasive argument that he was Iowa's best defensive lineman in 2010, despite playing on the same line as two guys projected to go in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft (Clayborn and Ballard). Klug first turned heads when he earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors against Florida International, when he notched 9 tackles, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble -- in a game he entered as a reserve. We tempered our enthusiasm by noting that it was against FIU, one of the worst teams in football, and Klug remained a reserve in 2008 because Iowa had "Kroul & Unusual Punishment" (Matt Kroul and Mitch King) manning the defensive tackle spots that year. But when they departed, Klug seized a starting spot in 2009 -- and never looked back. He was remarkably consistent:
2009: 65 tackles (13 TFL), 4 sacks, 3 QB hurries, 5 pass break-ups, 2 forced fumbles
2010: 57 tackles (13 TFL), 5.5 sacks, 1 QB hurry, 1 pass break-up
Klug was a steady force for the Iowa front four the past two years; Clayborn and Ballard got most of the publicity, but Klug was often the most consistent guy, the one toiling away in the trenches to slow down rushing attacks and snaking into the backfield to terrorize quarterbacks.
Highlights? I'm a visual learner. Fine, be that way. Just look for #95 here -- he's usually in the backfield wreaking havoc.
What's he good at? He's a very good tackler, with (CLICHE ALERT) a motor that didn't quit; much like that damn pink bunny, he just keeps going and going and going. He was also pretty explosive and able to get past blockers to pressure the passer.
So where will he play in the NFL? Um, yeah, about that... a bit like his predecessor at DT (Mitch King), Klug seems like a potential "man without a position" in the NFL. He doesn't seem to have the size (6'3", 275) to play inside at tackle and he might not be quite fast enough to play outside or on the edge.
That sounds like a tweener. I'm nervous. That's understandable. He doesn't fit into any easily-defined categories or slots on the field. Teams might need to get creative to get the most out of him.
Will he be awesome in the pros? We hope so, but our pants would be on fire if we said "without a doubt" in response to this question. We thought King would find a niche in the pros and pretty good, too, and that... didn't happen. If Klug lucks into the right situation with a team that has a smart, creative defensive coordinator and that doesn't expect immediate dividends from the pick, yeah, he could develop into the most pleasant surprise from this year's crop of Iowa picks. We'll be watching his pro career with interest -- he was one of our favorite defenders to watch the last two years at Iowa as he developed into a exciting, disruptive defensive force and we'll be rooting for him to do the same at the next level, though we go in knowing that it won't be easy.
Anything else? His name doesn't rhyme with "drug;" it's pronounced like "clue-g." We also nicknamed him The Incredible GULK, mostly because we're gigantic nerds (and/or dyslexic). He also has tiny little arms.