Welcome to the bright side of the NFL Draft, as we re-visit the 10 best picks in Carolina Panthers history.
No. 4 best pick: LB Luke Kuechly (2012)
What’s left to be said about Luke Kuechly?
The 32 first-round picks in the 2012 NFL Drafts have made a combined 12 All-Pro teams. Kuechly, the ninth pick overall, is responsible for five of them.
A Pro Bowler in every season of his career except his rookie year, the Boston College product immediately established himself as the cornerstone and leader of the Panthers’ defense. He’s also been relatively durable considering the physicality with which he plays. Kuechly has missed 10 games in seven seasons.
Kuechly is already the Panthers’ second-leading tackler in franchise history; he should overtake Thomas Davis atop the list at some point in the next two seasons. He’s far from just a run-stopper though — Kuechly also ranks fourth in franchise history in interceptions, and third in passes defended.
One could make the argument Kuechly will retire as Carolina’s best player ever. For now, he comes in as its fourth-best draft pick.