Carolina Panthers fans have at least one sure thing to be excited for next season. On the defensive side of the ball, they have an athletic playmaker who will be the anchor of that unit for years to come. After winning the NFL‘s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, Luke Kuechly has coaches and teammates excited about the potential improvement of their defense.
Kuechly is a big guy at 6’3” 235 lbs, but that doesn’t stop him from getting his body all over the field whenever needed. He is a “flock to the ball” type of player that doesn’t normally come out of college as NFL-ready as he was last season.
With over 10 games in double digit tackles, including three with 15 or more, Kuechly understands the scheme as well as anybody on that unit at only 21 years of age. With Carolina losing linebacker James Anderson to the Chicago Bears in Free Agency, there will be even more pressure on Kuechly to lead his defense in every aspect. Still having a guy like Thomas Davis alongside Kuechly will be reassuring to fans who liked Anderson’s play during his stint with Carolina.
A big part of Kuechly’s development last season had to be the presence of coach Ron Rivera, a member of that 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl Champion team. Rivera, like many players on that same defense, knows what it takes to play hard and play well on the defensive side of the ball. With Rivera at the helm, Kuechly will no doubt receive some of the best coaching and teaching he could get around the league.
Panthers fans, you should be anxious to see what this guy can do for you in the next decade. There are many players that come out of college who are hyped, covered extensively by media and have already signed multiple endorsements prior to being drafted. Kuechly was more of an under-the-radar and less flashy type of player who just knew how to do his job. As most would assume, he appears to prefer it that way. After all, it worked out just fine for him last season.