Photo credit: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images Sport
Author: Jon Kuzma
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Carolina Panthers defender Luke Kuchly has made a name for himself after being drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The former Boston College standout had a great resume coming out of college with the Butkus award, Nagursy Trophy, and Lombardi Trophy all under his belt. Kuechly didn’t skip a beat when he turned pro either. Kuechly has averaged 136 tackles over six seasons and that’s been the heart and soul of the Panthers defense. Opposing offenses know the middle of the field is off limits when they play Carolina and usually try to attack toward the sidelines to limit the 27 year old linebacker. Even then Kuechly still finds a way to play laterally and make plays. So really there’s two huge traits that make up the five time Pro Bowler’s game. The first thing is Kuechly’s run stopping ability. No matter what this guy seems to get the job done when asked to fill an A or B gap. Luke Kuechly isn’t shy about shedding blockers and he usually arrives with a big hit on the ball carrier. Then there’s Kuechly’s ability to flow and cover the entire field. Not many players can excel in both parts of the game like that and it shows the 6’3 220 pounder’s versatility. Then when you add in all the secondary factors to Kuchly’s game such as his coverage skills, ability to blitz, and big play capability (2 defensive touchdowns). All of those characteristics make for a tremendous football player but it wouldn’t be a complete story until we discuss number 59’s weaknesses. Kuechly is a 220 pound middle linebacker which is way undersized. That has resulted in more than a couple of concussions which could be a serious issue if he has anymore. So the only challenge Luke Kuechly has to overcome is staying healthy and avoiding getting too banged up. Other than that it’s rare to see one player with so much talent. When you talk about the best defenders in the league this guy’s name has to always be in the mix.
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