One of the names from the upcoming draft that fits the Seahawks list of needs, but if rarely tied to them is Boston College MLB Luke Kuechly. Kuechly is a tackling machine with excellent instincts and an extremely high football IQ. He’s very solid against both the run and pass, and rarely gets fooled by misdirection or play action.
At 6-2, 235 lbs. Kuechly is a little on the light side for a MLB, but I wouldn’t call him undersized. He has room on his frame to continue to bulk up a bit and get stronger. He takes on blocks well rarely misses a tackle.
What’s not to like, right? Well, there’s a reason he not connected to Seattle very often. For all his positives, Kuechley doesn’t have great speed, and Pete Carroll has talked about wanting to increase the team’s speed at LB. Kuechley will have trouble covering the league’s best TEs, like San Francisco’s Vernon Davis.
His lack of speed is an indicator of the true problem, Kuechley simply isn’t a great athlete compared to other players at his position. He makes plays more with his instincts and knowledge than anything. This of him as the the 2nd coming of Lofa Tatupu, or the anti-Aaron Curry.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, have made a point of wanting to be bigger, stronger, and faster than anyone else on the defensive side of the ball. Kuechley, for all his positives, just doesn’t fit that mold. So why bring him up? Because even though the Seahawks might not want a player like Kuechley, that doesn’t mean they don’t need a player like him.
Think back to 2005, when Tatupu joined the defense. His instincts and ability to sniff out play actions and screen allowed players like LeRoy Hill to be more aggressive. Even if Hill got fooled, Tatupu was always there to bail him out. The Seahawks were able to be more aggressive and more creative, because they had the right player in the center of it all.
Tatupu also handled all the defensive calls on the field pre-snap. Even when he was a rookie the Seahawks would switch in and out of plays to at the line to create the best matchups for the defense. I believe that Kuechley will have that same effect on whatever defense is lucky enough to draft him.