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Paul Kruger eager to mentor linebacker Nate Orchard

Paul Kruger admittedly does not follow the NFL draft.

In fact, unless it's watching film, you won't find Cleveland's 28-year-old sack master watching the NFL Network at all in the offseason. Kruger enjoys outdoor activities like hunting and golf, or a nice game of chess by the fireplace.

But when the Browns drafted Utah pass rusher Nate Orchard in the second round, Kruger's cell phone started blowing up.

"My brothers know him well, they played with him at Utah and they had great things to say," Kruger said. "How good a player he is and how good of a guy. I think we killed it in the draft – I really do. I'm excited to see some of these guys."

Every offseason in February and March, Kruger finds himself in Salt Lake City on the campus of the University of Utah, his alma mater. Kruger participates in the conditioning program with his Utes and players often seek out the friendly, shaggy-haired linebacker for advice, including Orchard.

Some of the tips worked. Orchard collected 18.5 sacks during his senior season at Utah, striking fear in Pac-12 quarterbacks and offensive coordinators alike. It's Orchard's overall approach Kruger delved into during their conversations.

"Talking to them about what it takes, the mentality and things like that," Kruger said. "He's one of those guys that you could just tell was always dialed in to what he needs to do and taking his game to the next level. It's exciting to see that type of commitment out of a young player."

Kruger is extremely fond of his fellow pass rushers. He hosted Barkevious Mingo and Scott Solomon over for an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner last November. He sees vital roles for both players this season.

But the Browns need more sacks in 2015. They need more consistent firepower off the edge. They want, and need, Orchard to develop into a quality player.

"I mean look: Pass rushers are important players," Kruger said. "That's just the bottom line of the business.  You always want to have a lot of guys who can get to the quarterback. (Adding Orchard) is not offensive or threatening to me at all. It benefits the team and the defense, for sure."

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