Panthers legend Luke Kuechly has one very controversial opinion on how his former team might use the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly made his mark on the franchise as one of the hardest-hitting players in the league for over a decade, but Panthers fans sure are grateful he’s not running the franchise. Not after Kuechly’s latest comments, anyway.
The seven-time Pro Bowler appeared on Atlanta’s sports radio show, “The Morning Shift” and gave his ice-cold take on what quarterbacks stood out to him in this year’s NFL draft class.
He could have taken the safe route and just agreed with Adam Schefter’s recent statement on Bryce Young being the franchise favorite, but he picked the most polarizing guy possible:
“Oh my gosh, I’m such a partial [Cam Newton] guy. So when I look at Richardson, he just makes me so excited. Because I played with Cam and saw how much fun we had with him and what he can do.”
Yes, Kuechly is an Anthony Richardson fan. Is it that much of a surprise?
Ex-Panthers LB Luke Kuechly backs QB prospect Anthony Richardson
Kuechly played with former Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for his entire eight-year career, so he’s seen the impact a dual-threat quarterback can make first-hand. Newton was Carolina’s No. 1 overall pick back in 2011 and established himself as a dynamic force on the ground and an accurate passer as well — Newton posted three 700-plus rushing yard seasons and led the franchise to three winning seasons before leaving for the New England Patriots in 2020.
Like Newton, Florida’s Anthony Richardson also poses as a formidable dual-threat, showing off his physical measurables at the NFL Combine and recording 654 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns for the Gators this past season.
Richardson’s draft stock naturally soared after the combine and he now projects to be a top-five pick given how many quarterback-needy teams are at the top of the board.
With the first pick, the Panthers have a middling class of quarterbacks to choose from and could feasibly go in any direction. Schefter thinks Bryce Young. Kuechly thinks Richardson.
In a far-fetched theory, maybe the Panthers are whispering things into Schefter’s and Kuechly’s ears to spread certain opinions about their No. 1 pick decision around the league.
Either way, expect Frank Reich and his highly experienced staff to make a calculated decision come April.