The Carolina Panthers played it safe, taking Luke Kuechly instead of reaching to add another weapon for Cam Newton on the offensive side of the ball. Kuechly may not be the flashiest rookie, but he’ll start from day one and immediately improve a struggling Panthers defense.
While Kueckly primarily played inside at Boston College, the Panthers are shifting him to the weak-side position where he’ll start next to Jon Beason, who maintains his position on the inside. In 2011, the Panthers suffered through a revolving door on the weak side, featuring James Anderson (who will compete for the job on the strong side) and Jordan Senn, among others.
Given his experience and the fact that he has a guaranteed job from day one, Kuechly should be considered an early contender for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Check out our full review of the Panthers 2012 draft class.