6'2, 235 pounds | Middle linebacker | Boston College
Coverage: When dropped in zone coverage, Kuechly has high football intelligence to read plays as they develop around him. May not have the best athleticism to redirect quickly, but has the smarts to compensate for it. May not have the vertical speed to turn and run with some tight ends.
Instincts/recognition: Elite level instincts. Seems to always be flowing to where the ball is going long before it gets there. Kuechly will rarely blow an assignment. Won't get tricked by misdirection plays. Doesn't get picked off by pulling guards.
Pass rush: At Boston College, Kuechly was never used as a blitzed and only got pressure when the play took a long time to develop. In the right situation, where there is an open hole to get at the quarterback, Kuechly could become useful in this area.
Pursuit: Plays with a lot of discipline, not overrunning the play or getting out of position. Is a technically sound linebacker who always plays with his head up and keeps blockers out of his feet. Quick to diagnose misdirection and screens.
Run defense: Sniffs out the ball in a hurry. Kuechly is a sound wrap-up tackler who knows how to lower his shoulder and drive through contact. Struggles some taking on and shedding blockers, especially in the box. Isn’t a great playmaker. A lot of his tackles came up field.
Strength: Kuechly doesn't have an overly strong frame and doesn't have a powerful build. He could get stronger in his upper body to take on blocks better.
Final word: 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.