With just about three weeks to go until the 2012 NFL draft, the Seattle Seahawks will enter the draft with the No. 12 overall pick in the first round and a few glaring holes—with one of them being middle linebacker.
Just about a week ago, the New Orleans Saints and former Seattle starting middle linebacker David Hawthorne agreed to a five-year contract. This transaction made it as clear as ever that the Seahawks need to find a replacement for Hawthorne and his 115 tackles from a year ago.
As we take a look at the 2012 draft class and Seattle's placement with the No. 12 overall pick, one player who immediately comes to mind as a perfect fit is Boston College's Luke Kuechly.
Luke Kuechly may not be a play-making middle linebacker, but he is one reliable option who will sure accumulate the tackles at the NFL level.
While at Boston College, Kuechly was a tackling machine, dominating the ACC. He was named All-American this past season, was awarded both the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Butkus Award and won ACC Defensive Player of the Year. So Kuechly certainly has the awards to back him up.
As for statistics, Kuechly led the nation with a whopping 191 total tackles, which is an incredible average of 16 tackles per game. There is certainly no question about Kuechly's production.
Kuechly is very instinctive and is one of the most instinctive linebackers that I have ever seen enter the NFL draft. He is always around the ball, most certainly reads the flow of the play very well and is in on just about every single tackle.
Kuechly is also a very well-balanced player. He's great against the run, solid in pass-rushing and pretty sound in pass coverage—he did play safety in high school.
For the mental side of it, Kuechly is like a coach on the field. If you ask me, he's a future defensive captain and a leader that will be calling the defensive plays while on the field.
This is the kind of guy that you want to build your defense around.
My biggest issue with Kuechly is that he's not the greatest athlete—meaning he's not freakishly strong and isn't blazing fast. Let's just say he's well-rounded and his high football IQ certainly makes up for it.
If Luke Kuechly is sitting there at No. 12 for the Seahawks, they certainly need to pull the trigger.
The Seahawks may need to address holes along the defensive line, but if the draft's top middle linebacker is available, you simply cannot afford to pass on him as his value is so high.
Kuechly should be a first-year impact player for the Seahawks and would immediately start. He would ultimately be the best-case scenario for Seattle, if you ask me.
Be sure to check out Tony Santorsa's blog: PatriotsPlus.