9. Carolina Panthers- LB Luke Kuechly (Boston College)
This one is a no brainer for a lot of reasons. Kuechly has great size for a line backer(6' 3" and 242 lbs.), led the nation in tackles during both 2010 and 2011, and would provide a big boost to a linebacking corp that has been decimated by knee injuries over the last couple of years. Former Miami stud Jon Beason is a fine player, but he's coming off knee surgery that ended his 2011 campaign. Thomas Davis has hit the ACL tear trifecta, so calling him injury-prone is a bit of an understatement.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is a former defensive coordinator, and you have to figure he's salivating at the chance to add an impact player like Kuechly to his defense. Dontari Poe, the mountain of a man from Memphis, is also rumored to be on the radar of the Carolina cats. Both are fine players, but consider this: as a sophomore in 2010, Kuechly registered 183 tackles. 110 of those were solo tackles. That's absolutely huge production out of a sophomore, and he's only improved in the time since. Carolina can take Kuechly, and they can feel confident that they've got a blue chipper to anchor their defense for the next decade. -- SAM HALE
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