Despite first-round QB Jake Locker attempting only two passes in the first seven games, the Titans' rookie class has shown great promise. Three rookies are making regular contributions on defense: SLB Akeem Ayers, and DTs Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug. Of all the Titans rookies, none has made a greater impact than Klug, Tennessee's fifth-round pick out of Iowa. In fact, the former Hawkeye leads the Titans in sacks (three) and forced fumbles (two).
Ironically, Klug wasn't known as a pass rusher coming out of college. He has made great strides since reaching the pros, however, saying that while he is happy with his solid start, he knows there is plenty of hard work yet to be done.
"The biggest thing I'm working on is my counter move." Klug told PFW by phone on Nov. 2. "Sometimes I work my first move, and when I got stopped, I need to get better with my second move.
"Also, the placement of my hands in the run game, so I'm not turning my pads, but staying more square to the line of scrimmage and stuff like that."
Playing on a talented line at Iowa alongside fellow NFL rookies Adrian Clayborn and Christian Ballard, Klug often flew under the radar. His defensive coordinator at the time, Norm Parker, gave him advice that has stuck with him.
"He (Parker) pulled me aside one day — I took it as a compliment — and he told me, 'Hey, Klug, you know you didn't get here off your talent; you got here off your work ethic. You can't let that go — keep doing it.' So, I kind of took that with me wherever I go. I thought that was a great compliment. Some people might not take it that way," said Klug, laughing.
At 6-3, 275 pounds, Klug is one of the lighter Titans linemen. Tennessee made a point of getting bigger up front in the offseason, but Klug, who said he feels great physically, said Titans D-line coach Tracy Rocker doesn't have a problem with his size.
"He said it didn't matter to him at all. He would see how I play, and if he thought I needed to add weight, he would let me know. But I haven't heard anything."