2012 NFL Mock Draft: Luke Kuechly
Luke Kuechly is an intelligent, intuitive, and instinctive football player who hustles on every play. He is a sound, strong tackler who drops his hips and keeps his head up. Against the run Kuechly is constantly around the ball, tracking it well from sideline to sideline. He flows through traffic easily and steps into gaps instead of waiting; anchoring low against stronger ball carriers stopping them immediately. Has strong hands and plays through the whistle on every play.
Kuechly is not an elite athlete, but can cover a lot of ground in pass coverage. He is a reliable tackler in the middle, consistently taking good angles and stays with bigger slot receivers and tight ends. Kuechly has good hand-eye coordination and he reads quarterbacks’ eyes very well which has allowed him to garner interceptions. After the pick, he follows blockers and is a strong runner. Could play as an ILB in a 3-4, or MLB in a 4-3.
Kuechly lacks straight line speed and struggles against faster RBs because of it; he needs to take better angles against speedier ball carriers. He is not an elite athlete and lacks ideal size for an NFL middle linebacker/inside linebacker, but should be able to add 10-15 Lbs. of muscle and not lose much mobility.
Kuechly was not asked to blitz often and lack of great closing speed may be a struggle at the next level, however, his sound technique makes it difficult for QBs and RBs to evade him once he is in the backfield. Occasionally Kuechly goes high for tackles in space, allowing quicker ball carriers to elude him.
Kuechly’s biggest strengths are his intangibles. He is a leader on and off the field and his instincts and hustle are not only impressive, but immeasurable. His work ethic off the field is evident as he has gained significant muscle over the last three years. He is a durable player who hasn’t missed a game in his three seasons as a starter. In fact, in an injury search the only thing I could find was that he missed a few series in the NC State game (Nov. 2011) when he injured his left elbow. Kuechly owns the Boston College and ACC records for career tackles with 532 (in three years).
As a freshman, Kuechly recorded 158 total tackles (87 solo) on his way to becoming the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year. He followed that up with a sophomore campaign in which he had 183 total tackles (110 solo) and was named the 11th consensus All-American in school history. In 2011, Kuechly led the country once again in total tackles with 191 (102 solo) and won the Bronko Nagursky Award, the Lombardi Award, took home the Lott Impact Trophy, and was presented with the Dick Butkus Award in a surprise ceremony at the BC football banquet. Over his entire career he has seven interceptions with two returned for scores.BourbonMeyer.com. Not just a college sports enthusiast, Dory is also a fan of NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. Born outside Philly, she moved to Tampa, and now resides in Illinois, giving her a broad perspective on the sporting world. You may email Dory at [email protected] or follow her on twitter @DoryLeBlanc