Luke Kuechly has now added to his growing list of awards as he has been named the 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Not many people are surprised that the second-year linebacker was named the top defender as he has been the most consistent defensive player on one of the best defensive units in the NFL — the Carolina Panthers.
Who did Kuechly beat out for the top spot in the league? Would it surprise you that All-Pro LB Robert Mathis finished second with 11 1/2 votes safety Earl Thomas finished third in the voting with 7 1/2? How about the fact that prolific CB Richard Sherman was four with just seven votes? No? Me neither.
Kuechly took home the award because he was easily the most deserving, racking up 19 votes out of 50 and having one of the best years of any linebacker in recent memory.
How well did Kuechly have to play to beat out guys like Mathis, Thomas and Sherman? How about racking up 156 tackles — good for fourth in the league — two sacks, four interceptions and seven pass deflections.
Yes, Kuechly can do it all and the Panthers will hope to keep him on the roster for as long as possible.
One year removed from winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, Kuechly has proven he is not just a one-year wonder in this league. In fact, the league better start taking notice of his prolific tackling ability in the open field and ball-hawking skills because he is not someone you will want to challenge with the ball in your hands.
Well done and well earned, Luke.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.