Editor’s Note: As we get ready for the 2012 NFL Draft, we’ll be “meeting” some players who just might find their way to Buffalo come April. In this series we’ll take a look at possible Bills draft picks and break down their abilities and potential.
Overview: This tackling machine racked up incredible stats in college. Does he have the athleticism to produce in the NFL?
Strengths: Extraordinarily productive in college, piling up over 14 tackles a game in his final season. Relentlessly pursues the ball at all times. Obviously an excellent tackler, even in the open field. Diagnoses the play and finds the ball carrier very, very well. Always around the ball. Keeps blockers away from his body well. Strong enough to hold up at the point of attack. Durable with great intangibles and work ethic.
Weaknesses: Not going to wow anyone athletically. Wasn’t asked at Boston College to drop into coverage or blitz, so there’s huge questions if he has the speed or athleticism to handle that in the NFL. Can handle some underneath zone coverage, but would be a liability in man-to-man coverage in the NFL. Makes a lot of his tackles too far down the field. Won’t shed blocks when engaged. Could use a bit more size.
How He’d Fit in Buffalo: The Bills are going back to the 4-3 defense, and Kuechly would certainly fit in as the middle linebacker. Of course, the Bills already have a young middle linebacker in Kelvin Sheppard.
The Bottom Line: Kuechly is very similar in a lot of ways to former Bills linebackers Paul Posluszny and London Fletcher. He’s going to rack up big numbers, and there’s going to be a big debate about whether he’s actually any good or not. The supporters will point his huge tackle numbers, and the detractors will insist those tackles are all too far away from the line of scrimmage to matter. If you liked Poz and/or Fletcher, you should cheer for Buffalo to grab Kuechly.