Is Luke Kuechly A Reach At No. 5?April 21st, 2012
Longtime Colts chief Bill Polian is a guy rockstar general manager Mark Dominik referenced during his recent news conference as a guy he learned from, a guy Dominik called among “the best.” Polian now works for SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Interestingly, Polian has explained numerous times on the air this month that he applauds general managers who see a player that fits their team, a player they feel great about, and “reach” out and grab them. Polian essentially makes the point there’s no such thing as a reach and GMs are trying to win games and build teams, not win drafts for pundits or history.
This brings Joe to Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who to his position is what Trent Richardson is to running backs this year. Kuechly is being slobbered over as a total-package player not seen in years.
Lead NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock, a guy who spends his entire year on the draft, talks about how Kuechly might be the guy with the most Pro Bowls out of this draft class.
Mayock says several general managers have told him Kuechly “is the cleanest single player in the draft. And by that they mean huge production in a BCS conference, no off-the-field problems, no medical injuries. I think he’s the best pure zone-drop pass linebacker I’ve ever seen on tape. And what usually knocks inside linebackers down is there inability to stay on the field for three plays. It’s the opposite with Kuechly.”
Mayock calls Kuechly the sixth-best player overall in the draft. The Bucs pick at No. 5.
Architect of the Cowboys teams from 1960 to 1989, Gil Brandt, aka The Godfather, is another guy Dominik referenced Thursday as a guy he lumped in among “the best” NFL personnel men and one he’s learned from. Brandt has been NFL scouting guru for NFL.com and Sirius NFL Radio for years.
Brandt says Kuechly “makes tackles in the hole and still covers in space. He is a rare talent who will be very good for a long time.” Brandt places Kuechly at No. 9 on his big board.
Obviously, the Bucs need serious help at linebacker.
Joe keeps thinking about how weeks ago Dominik called Greg Schiano a “4-3 fundamentalist.” Joe has no clue what that really means but Joe suspects Schiano’s defense calls for a beast of a middle linebacker. And Joe can’t forget that Schiano himself was a linebacker in college.
So is Kuechly, who turned 21 yesterday, a senseless “reach” for the Bucs with the fifth-overall pick?
Joe still prefers Morris Claiborne, but Joe’s not about to freak out or be completely stunned if Kuechly’s name is called by the Bucs.