On Thursday, the Philadelphia Eagles welcome their entire rookie class for this weekend's minicamp. It's the team's first chance to see the Class of 2013 in action on the football field together. As we learn about the new Eagles as football players and begin to project how they will help this football team, here's an opportunity to learn about the players off the field as well. Here are some notes on the first of three seventh-round picks, defensive end and linebacker Joe Kruger ...
- At 20 years old, Joe Kruger is the youngest player on the Philadelphia Eagles. He was one of 52 underclassmen selected in the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Football is a family affair for Kruger. His father, Paul, played for Oregon State. His brother, also named Paul, earned all-conference honors at Utah and this offseason signed a lucrative contract with the Cleveland Browns after winning the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens. Joe's other brother, Dave, was a defensive tackle and team captain at Utah before signing a rookie free agent deal with the Browns following this year's draft. Even Joe's brother-in-law, Tony Bergstrom, was an All-Pac-12 offensive lineman at Utah and a third-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2011.
"I think I'm mature enough and I'm strong enough and I have Paul, who plays for the Cleveland Browns now, and he's been in the league for four years now," said Joe Kruger of his decision to leave school despite having an extra year of college eligibility. "I think I'm ready to play. I've been around (the NFL) for a while now, and I know I can play with these guys."
Kruger's defensive coordinator at Utah, Kalani Sitake, believes that Joe could be the best of the Kruger brothers.
"Joe might be the best Kruger of them all," Sitake said. "He's got Paul's motor and a huge frame. When Joe wants to go, not too many people can stop him. If he gets that spark, he'll be unbelievable. … He's remarkably talented."
- Earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 accolades after his junior season in 2012. Named to the Academic All-Mountain West team as a true freshman.
- Hails from Orem, Utah, the same city that produced one of the best tight ends in Eagles history - Chad Lewis.
- Was recruited by Eagles head coach Chip Kelly to play at Oregon.
"I don't know a lot about their defensive line situation, but I know that Joe is Chip Kelly's kind of guy," said Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. "I know Chip Kelly and he likes those hard-working, no-nonsense players, which is exactly what Joe is."
He committed to Utah early in 2008 as a high school junior looking to continue the family tradition.
- Hobbies include snowboarding, wakeboarding, hunting and fishing. His taste in music ranges from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Seal to classical piano songs.
- Full name is Jonathan Wells Kruger.
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