2012 NFL Draft: Could Luke Kuechly Inspire Dallas Cowboys to Set Needs Aside?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIApril 17, 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

Luke Kuechly is a remarkable talent at inside linebacker coming out of Boston College. He's perhaps the smartest defensive player in the draft. The Dallas Cowboys have significant needs for the interior offensive line and secondary. Still, if Kuechly is the best player available when the Cowboys are on the board, they should go for him.

Certain traits make Kuechly a spectacular prospect. He's an intelligent player who possesses a great ability to read plays. He doesn't get thrown by trick plays. Teams would love to have a player like Kuechly who can break down offensive movement.

He displays great tackling technique, which becomes more important as the NFL's approach on safety evolves. He gets his hips low, secures the ballcarrier and pulls him down aggressively.

His speed wasn't one of his most impressive traits in college, but he thrilled scouts at the NFL Combine with 40-yard dash times of 4.5, 4.78 and 4.58 seconds, in order. If he can show that speed in the NFL, he could become a star.

Kuechly didn't blitz much at Boston College, but his position probably wouldn't call him to blitz much in the NFL anyway.

The Cowboys could use Kuechly. Sean Lee is the only truly impressive inside linebacker. Bruce Carter is a work in progress. Dan Connor, who the Cowboys signed in March, had hardly any big plays to go with his 75 tackles in 2011. Connor had one forced fumble, no interceptions and no pass deflections.

Kuechly could be a great partner for Lee if Jerry Jones were to draft him. Both Kuechly and Lee have great abilities to read plays. They're both aggressive and have playmaking abilities. They're solid tacklers. He'd certainly learn a great deal playing and studying film with Lee, who is a film junkie.

To see Kuechly and Lee work together would be wonderful.

Also, it would reduce somewhat the need for another pass rusher, since having another solid inside linebacker could take away some plays.

Drafting Kuechly is a move Jones should definitely consider. He's a remarkable talent with the intelligence emblematic of the reputation accorded to people from Jesuit colleges like Boston College.

An interior offensive lineman like David DeCastro or a cornerback like Dre Kirkpatrick would be good for the Cowboys. Still, if Kuechly appears to be the best available player when the Cowboys are on the board, they certainly should go for him.