The opinions and analysis contained in this feature are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the thoughts and opinions of the Seahawks’ coaching staff and personnel department.
A middle linebacker going in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft? And one from Boston College, at that?
It could happen on Thursday night, when the first round will be conducted and Luke Kuechly is expected to be one of the first linebackers – and players – selected.
“There’s no question he will be a good football player in the NFL,” said Bill Polian, the former GM of the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills and now an analyst for ESPN. “He has exceptional instincts and exceptional speed.”
You notice that Polian didn’t include the expected “for a middle linebacker” tag.
That’s because the 6-foot-3, 242-pound Kuechly put up some staggering statistics at BC: 10-plus tackles in 33 consecutive games, an NCAA record; an average of 14.0 tackles for his career, another NCAA record; an average of 15.9 tackles as a junior, the NCAA single-season mark; and the only player in ACC history to lead the league in tackles three times.
Kuechly also talks a pretty game, as he displayed during his Q&A session with the media at NFL Scouting Combine:
Q: You have heard the comparisons to Zach Thomas?
A: “Definitely. We worked with some guys at IGM that are close to Zach Thomas. They did draw those comparisons. To be mentioned with somebody like him that had a great career in the NFL that long, it’s a great honor. It’s good to emulate people like that because they had great success.”
Q: Did you watch Thomas growing up?
A: “I did watch him growing up. It was difficult to get some of those (Miami Dolphins) games. I was in Cincinnati. It was difficult to get those games. But definitely when I had a chance, I was always watching him.”
Q: What was the most difficult part about deciding to declare for the draft after your junior year?
A: “The toughest thing for me that was holding me back was, just finishing what I started. Being at school with the guys you meet. You do everything with those guys, and some of my friends will be there for one, maybe two more years. Talking to those guys, it’s college. College is over. But I’m excited to be doing what I’m doing now.”
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?
A: “Instinctual player is something that pops up for a lot of people. That, coupled with I think I’m a smart player. I think I do a pretty good job preparing myself. That’s something I take pride in – being prepared, and knowing what each individual guy is responsible for. I can point at different guys, and let them know what they’re doing if they have questions. I take pride in having the ability to do that. And doing that, and knowing what everyone is doing, you can play faster. It allows you to be more successful.”
Q: How much would it mean to you to go in the first round?
A: “I think it would be great. Growing up, it’s one of those things. I’ve been watching the draft, I don’t know how long. You want to get your name called on that first day, you want to be on that first-day list when he says, ‘So-and-so selects Luke Kuechly, linebacker, Boston College.’ That’s your goal playing in college football. Getting to that level, and hearing your name on the first day.”