NFL Carolina Panthers

Ron Rivera calls drafting Luke Kuechly “no-brainer”

Boston College coach Frank Spaziana already knows what the Carolina Panthers have in their brand new linebacker, and it appears as though Panthers’ fans will be excited to find out that he already has something in common with Cam Newton.

Spaziani says Luke Kuechly “looks like Clark Kent and plays like Superman.”

The Carolina Panthers already have Superman-Cam, who is coming off one of the best rookie year performances in NFL history, but the Panthers shrewdly took the best player available as opposed to moving down in the draft and getting a lower quality player. Either the Panthers did not get a trade-down offer that they liked, or they simply fell in love with Kuechly. Or it could be a little of both.

Ron Rivera called picking Keuchly a “no-brainer” when he was still on the draft board at number 9.

The Panthers injury-devastated defense gave up 26.8 points per game last season and ranked 28th overall in the NFL. Kuechly, led college football in tackles the last two seasons, and will attempt to be part of rebuilding the Panthers defense to match its offensive production last year.

Keuchly averaged almost 16 tackles a game his senior year, and 14 a game for his entire collegiate career. Pretty impressive from a guy who looks more like an office-geek in his horn-rimmed glasses.

“I think football is a team game, and I think personal records are only that,” Kuechly said Friday afternoon. “And don’t think anyone goes into a game with the mind-set of ‘I want to set a record.’ You want to set a record, set how about team?”

When asked about the possibility of Jon Beason moving to outside linebacker to ease his transition Keuchly gave the correctly diplomatic answer.

“You have to come in, you have to be humble because you’re starting new, starting over again and you can’t come in with an overly big head because you haven’t done anything yet,” he said. “You might have done alright in college, but moving forward it’s a different game at a different level.”

I love this combination of high character, high production pick-up by the Panthers and it speaks to the new culture Ron Rivera has been instilling over the last few years. I think if the Panthers can continue to draft well, then they can start to compete for the NFC South title on a yearly basic. Perhaps as soon as this year?