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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Top free agents in the division: No. 7

By Jamison Hensley

Free agency officially begins next Tuesday, so the AFC North blog is counting down the 20 best free agents (unrestricted and restricted) from the teams in the division. Let's continue with No. 7 ...

PAUL KRUGER

Ravens linebacker

Status: Unrestricted free agent

The good: Kruger finally lived up to his potential in 2012, enjoying a breakout season as a pass rusher. He became the Ravens' biggest threat to get to the quarterback with Terrell Suggs dealing with Achilles and bicep injuries. He led the team with nine sacks and recorded two more in the Super Bowl. Kruger finished tied for third in quarterback hits (12) and third in quarterback hurries (33).

The bad: What many forget is Kruger's a part-time player. He struggles too much against the run to be an every-down linebacker. Kruger just doesn't have the size to set the edge. His 42 tackles ranked 11th on the team.

The bottom line: Like quarterback Joe Flacco, Kruger played his best in a contract year and should cash in. The Ravens, though, don't have the cap room to keep Kruger and probably have him behind linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and Ed Reed on their priority list. The Browns, who want to add punch to their pass rush, may pursue Kruger.