Yesterday we finished up the offensive line, outside linebacker and wide receiver portions of our draft series, I am going to throw in a little bit of a twist. Obviously, some positions such as guard only have one or two outstanding players that will go towards the top of the draft. With the Cardinals selecting at 13th overall, they will be looking for one of those outstanding athletes.
This year's inside linebacker class isn't too terrible, but for the first round, there is truly only one name that sticks out in everybody's mind. Luke Kuechly out of Boston College is an animal on the football field and although it is not a huge need for the Cardinals, his presence at inside linebacker along with Daryl Washington could be something they can depend on for years to come.
So I ask you: should the Arizona Cardinals select Luke Kuechly if he is on the board at #13?
Kuechly is the type of player that every NFL team would clamor for. He is a high character player that goes out on the field with a lunch pale and does anything asked of him. He hits hard and when you watch him play, you would think he belonged on the gridiron 40 years ago.
Not only is Kuechly tough as nails, but he is also a very instinctive and intelligent football player. He was the recipient of the Butkus Award (an honor many thought Vontaze Burfict was going to make a run at) for his stellar play on the field.
At the NFL Combine, Kuechly showed scouts and array of his talents. He is perhaps the fastest linebacker entering the draft after running a 4.58 40-yard dash, topping all other linebackers at the Combine. Out of the linebackers, Kuechly also had the best vertical (38"), broad jump (123"), 3 cone drill (6.92 seconds), 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. Needless to say, this guy is a freak of an athlete.
Here is proof of that:
And here are some scouting notes from our good friend, Dan Kadar over at mockingthedraft.com:
At the college level, Kuechly is arguably the most accomplished player in this year's draft. An All-American each of his three seasons at Boston College, Kuechly led the nation in tackles as a sophomore and junior. He's instinctual and will be able to contribute immediately as a rookie. His upside, though, is limited because he's not the strongest or a natural athlete.
According to Kadar, it seems that Kuechly's Combine results may have been somewhat deceiving. He does not have the desired power or speed that many teams look for with an inside linebacker. He also is not a great pass rusher and has some difficulty disengaging from bigger blockers. The bad news is that in the NFL, all the blockers are big.
Still, it's hard to argue against Kuechly's collegiate results. He was the most polished linebacker in the country and it will be hard for teams to pass up on him once they are on the clock. For the Cardinals, he does not present an immediate need, but he would make an excellent pairing next to Daryl Washington for years to come. For now, he can sit on the bench and learn from both Washington and Paris Lenon.
After reading these notes and watching the video, what are your thoughts on Luke Kuechly as a member of the Arizona Cardinals? Could the team justify spending their 13th overall pick on a player that doesn't fill a position of need? Tell us what you think and vote in the poll.