I'm trying to get on board with the Kuechly pick still.
What I love the most? In thinking about the recent sports trend revolving around sabermetrics, I'm actually drawn to basketball. There's a great story on Shane Battier being one of the few guys in the NBA that can digest what the numbers tell the coaches.
Not that everyone Carolina currently employs is stupid, but there's a nice blend of instinctiveness and awareness to go with intelligence with Kuechly. Jon Beason has it, but Beason's one guy. Kuechly might be better in that regard.
The second favorite comes from Ron Rivera's first day. He promised things like winning, aggressiveness. Once he started naming actual needs, tackling came after QB and TE. Carolina tackled exceptionally poor last year, and there's a definite upgrade there now. I'm reminded of how much the Bears game appeared to matter - it cost Sean Considine his job at safety/special teams, and eventually Jason Baker's job at punter. They cut Baker, and they've brought in two safeties already.
The other major disaster was the final Saints game. There's debate over Kuechly's athletic ability, but he's quite possibly Carolina's best cover LB as well. Thomas Davis always has been, but being healthy is the larger worry there. Kuechly gives a player who can match up in those Saints games, to a point. No one matches up with Jimmy Graham exceptionally well, but Kuechly does a good job there. Same for Darren Sproles.
Definitely, intangibles help. I wouldn't be convincing myself right now that Quentin Coples is a locker room guy or a tireless worker. Kuechly is.
I still don't know that I'm that happy with the pick compared to what we could've done, but I'm getting there.
I can't say I wouldn't have traded, or taken Coples begrudgingly. Seattle traded down to 15 from 12 for a 4 and 6, and honestly, I'm not 100% sure I wouldn't have been OK with that. For a 3 I'd have jumped. At 15, Carolina easily could've still had Coples, or Melvin Ingram. I can't be totally convinced Kuechly wouldn't have made it that far either.