It's NFL Draft Week and of course here at BC Interruption we are all over all things Luke Kuechly.
If you have been reading draft blogs, or watching some of the draft television specials, you inevitably have heard positive things about Luke Kuechly. Honestly, it is not that hard to find, as LK has become the golden boy and sure fire pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. His performance at the combine, results on the field, and interviews have helped him soar up most mock drafts.
That is unless you read the Yahoo! Blog The Shutdown Corner yesterday:
So is Kuechly for real, or some product of an unguarded Tom Coughlin daydream? Watch tape of Kuechly, and he grows on you. The first tackle does not look like anything special. The 191st wears away your skepticism.
Okay, start off with a backhanded compliment. It usually only takes two or three tackles, or one game film to make anyone a fan of Kuechly. And as a note I have no idea what Tom Coughlin has to do with Luke Kuechly. Is it some inside Giants' joke that I just don't get? Or is it just a Luke Kuechly played for BC, Tom Coughlin coached at BC years ago let's make a comparison?
The writer continues on by listing Luke Kuechly's positives, he can tackle, he has good instincts....we know them all by heart now. Then he lists his cons.
Kuechly is not huge, super-fast, or explosive
Didn't I read that Kuechly had the 3rd fastest 40 time for all linebackers at the combine that most writers said he tore up?
Those crazy tackle totals — 532 in three seasons — are impressive in themselves, but Kuechly makes lots and lots of tackles after 5-6 yard gains. Most are "funnel" tackles (the line ate up blocks so he could flow to the ball), not impact plays.
If by funnel tackle you mean that BC's front line was basically just a group of guys that weren't all that effective at all and just kind of were there to fill up space maybe you are right. But not explosive? Give me a break. Watch the Notre Dame game, watch the Miami game. He was all over the place blowing up plays.
The writer concludes that Kuechly is slow, and that he will struggle to "diagnose plays" because he is so slow.
Kuechly's upside is not great. He will never be Brian Urlacher. But the risk level is low. He will learn his role, play special teams as a rookie, and make the plays he is supposed to make. And if his college production is any indicator, a few more. Kuechly is a little better than the NFL comparison player below, but their play styles are similar.
Wait, what? This just sounds unnecessarily contrarian, especially when a google search of "Luke Kuechly/Brian Urlacher similarities" brings up 11k results including:
I see a lot of similarities between BC LB Luke Kuechly (6-3¼ - 242 - 4.53 speed) & Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher (6-3½ - 255 - 4.52 speed).— Mel Kiper Jr. (@MelKiperESPN) April 23, 2012
Boom. So who does Shutdown Corner compare Kuechly to?
NFL Comparison: Pat Angerer, Indianapolis Colts
Who? I know who Angerer is, but that is just ridiculous. I am not going to compare him to Urlacher, because that is a stretch but comparisons to Sean Lee and Chad Greenway seem much more realistic.
Let's get back to the positives, let's see what a trusted analyst has to say on our boy Keeks:
"He is one of the 10 best players in the draft. Historically, inside linebackers are not valued, mostly because they get replaced on sub downs in sub packages and nickel packages. He's the opposite and his strength lies in the pass game. He's the best pass-dropping inside linebacker I've ever seen in college football. He has instincts and speed. There's real value there because he's a three-down inside linebacker.''
-- NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock on Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Ah, now that's better.