The Carolina Panthers enjoyed a busy Thursday, signing seven of their draft selections from last month’s NFL Draft including their top pick, LB Luke Kuechly. Kuechly, out of Boston College was the ninth player selected overall last month and to date is the highest draft pick from the 2012 class to agree to a contract so far. His contract is a four-year deal worth a reported $12.58 million dollars.
The Boston College product was widely regarded by analysts this season as having the best instincts of any player at his position in this year’s draft class. Carolina hasn’t announced exactly which linebacker position Kuechly will play, but it is assumed he can play all three positions. Speaking to reporters, head coach Ron Rivera spoke in glowing terms regarding Kuechly. “We’re going to look at it, we really are, and just see how it all meshes. This is one of those picks where it makes your group better and your unit better. The reason we drafted the kid is he has tremendous versatility.”
Kuechly will immediately help to upgrade a Panthers defensive unit which finished 32nd against the run and 29th against the pass in 2011.
Along with Kuechly, the Panthers signed six other players, every selection from last month’s draft, to contracts. OG Amini Salotolu 40th overall), DE Frank Alexander (103), KR/WR Joe Adams (104), CB Josh Norman (143), P Brad Norman (207) and S D.J. Campbell (216).