2012 NFL Draft: Why Luke Kuechly Is Likely to Be Drafted by Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills fans that follow the draft know that general manager Buddy Nix drafts the best available player rather than reaching based on need.
When Nix ranks players on his big board, talent isn't the only thing that he looks at.
He also looks for players that have high character grades and are free of off-the-field issues. He wants to see multiple years of productivity. He likes players that are versatile. He'd prefer to draft seniors that have four years worth of tape for him to review. But in the case of extremely productive players (like Marcell Dareus) he will make an exception and draft a junior coming out of college.
Enter Luke Kuechly. Kuechly is a draft-eligible junior that started for the Boston College Eagles for the past three seasons. As a 220-pound true freshman, Kuechly played in all 13 games, starting 12. Kuechly experienced his least productive season that year, registering "only" 158 tackles—good for second in the nation.
You read that right. He was the second most productive tackler in all of college football as a true freshman, and only improved from there. In 2010 he registered 183 tackles, followed up by 191 in 2011.
Kuechly isn't just a tackling machine, though. As Mike Mayock of the NFL Network states, "He's the best pass-dropping linebacker from the inside I've ever seen coming out of college football."
He also has good size and speed for an NFL linebacker. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he measured 6'3" and 242 lbs. He also ran his 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds, the third-fastest time among linebackers.
Kuechly offers impressive versatility as well. The Cincinnati native has experience at both middle and outside linebacker. According to Buddy Nix, the Bills scouting department feels that Kuechly can play all three linebacker positions in their new 4-3 defense.
He didn't miss any games at BC due to injury, so health definitely hasn't been an issue thus far. That type of durability is sorely needed by a Buffalo defense that has been riddled by injuries for years.
Kuechly is also free of off-the-field question marks. By all accounts, he's smart, hard working, ultra competitive, and has avoided getting into any academic or legal troubles.
Although I've read scouting reports talking about his tackle stats being inflated and claiming that he won't be elite in the NFL, there's almost no risk with this guy. Kuechly may not be a perennial Pro Bowler, but the chances of him being a draft bust are minuscule.
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