Kuechly is one of the best defenders in NFL history
By: Jeremy Trottier
The Panthers picked a rare athlete and very self-motivated player in Luke Kuechly with their ninth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. There’s an interesting question for him following his “early” retirement: Is Luke Kuechly a player that is deserving of going into the hall of fame? I believe his production and impact should place him in the Hall of Fame and also place him as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Some people might ask why he should be in the HOF as he only played 7 seasons? It is because those 7 seasons were simply some of the best seasons by a linebacker in NFL history.
Being able to accrue over 1000 tackles in a 7-year span, and leading the NFL in tackles twice with over 150 each time makes you great. Being able to fill the stat sheet overall the way he did every single year of his career makes him legendary.
Luke Kuechly was an absolute monster both in terms of tackling behind the line of scrimmage and in coverage, accruing the following over his career:
- 118 games played (all 118 were started, only missed 10 games in his career)
- 18 interceptions for 168 yards and 1 touchdown, 66 pass deflections
- 1092 tackles, 75 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 9 fumble recoveries
- 31 QB hits, 1 safety forced, 7,231 snaps taken in 7 years
There are very very few players, nevermind in recent memory that could produce a career like this. To think that Luke could have played another 5-7 years if not for concussions is just mind-bending. If the stats alone do not convince you, the accolades will. Over his career, Kuechly acquired an absolutely massive list of achievements, including:
- NFL DPOY (2013)
- NFL DROY (2012)
- 5 time all pro (2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018)
- 2 time second team all pro (2016, 2019)
- 7 time pro bowler (every season of his career but 1, 2013-2019)
- NFL all decade team (2010s)
- Most tackles in a game (24, tied)
- Number retired by Boston College
- Super Bowl appearance
There are not many players in general that were able to produce such a well-rounded Hall of Fame-ready career. Kuechly is arguably in the same category as Barry Sanders in terms of dominance and short career span. One player I can near guarantee will be a first-ballot will be the Panthers legendary defender Luke Kuechly.