Many, including myself and NFLDraftScout.com’s Dane Brugler, are projecting Kuechly to be drafted inside of the top 12 picks. The Kansas City Chiefs (No. 11) and Seattle Seahawks (No. 12) are especially popular landing spots for Kuechly in early mock drafts. The reality is, however, that inside linebackers have lessened in value as NFL offenses increasingly turn to the passing game. Should Kuechly “slip” past Kansas City and Seattle, there are very few teams with obvious needs at inside linebacker.
One veteran NFL scout, in fact, cautioned that should Kuechly slip outside of the top 12 picks, his slide might not end until the Giants pick at No. 32.
Who they should draft: Kuechly. Jovan Belcher is a fine young player, and he’s done well to transform himself into a hit and run linebacker after four years with a hand in the dirt as a defensive end in college at Maine, but he has limited physical abilities and is not a major factor in the passing game. In adding Kuechly, Belcher could be realigned into a backup linebacker and core special teams player role – that’s closer to where he belongs in the NFL.