2012 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers Reportedly Show Interest in Luke Kuechly

Anthony RizzutiSenior Analyst IIIApril 4, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 27: Linebacker Luke Kuechly of Boston College takes part in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With the 2012 NFL draft now just three weeks away, the Luke Kuechly to Carolina rumors continue to heat up. The Carolina Panthers currently hold the ninth overall selection in the draft and have been connected to handful of defensive prospects including Kuechly.

The first indication of the front office's interest in the Boston College linebacker came in mid-March. Carolina scheduled a visit for Kuechly on March 19th, as reported by ESPN NFC South Blogger Pat Yasinskas.

More recently, the Panthers supposedly have gained further interest in 2011 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner.

On Tuesday evening, Bleacher Report's senior NFL draft lead writer Matt Miller reported that the Panthers are now enamored with the prospect of grabbing Kuechly at the No. 9 spot in the draft:

"One quick note on Kuechly to #Seahawks, multiple people have told us that the #Panthers LOVE him."

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 3, 2012

I contacted Miller late Tuesday night via Twitter in search of some clarification on his report. Miller affirmed the team's interest in Kuechly, stating that he's been told by "multiple sources, inside and out of the Panthers organization."

"@ariz810922 Sure. I've been told by multiple sources, inside and out of the #Panthers organization, that they really like BC LB Luke Kuechly"

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 4, 2012

Kuechly is widely regarded as a top-10 prospect in the upcoming draft.

The 6'3", 242-pound inside linebacker played three years at Boston College and racked up the most tackles in NCAA history. 

In 2011, Kuechly totaled 191 tackles, 12 of them for a loss, as well as three interceptions. As he did the two seasons prior, the Golden Eagle proved he was easily one of college football's best defensive players.

If Carolina decides to go with Kuechly, they must fit him into a very talented linebacking group which already includes Jon Beason, Thomas Davis and James Anderson.

With Beason and Davis coming off devastating season-ending injuries in 2011, Kuechly can certainly provide Ron Rivera's defense with some depth at the position.