Charlotte, NC Dec. 17, 2012 – With an NFL rookie-best 138 tackles, Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (pronounced KEEK-lee), the ninth overall selection in the 2012 Draft, is putting together a strong case for Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Using press box statistics,Kuechly has tallied 138 tackles (84 solo) this season, second-most in the NFL and the top mark among rookies.
NFL Tackle Leaders (Press Box Statistics)
Player Tot Sol Ast
Chad Greenway, Min. 140 91 49
*Luke Kuechly, Car. 138 84 54
Jerod Mayo, N.E. 137 80 57
Jerrell Freeman, Ind. 125 75 50
James Laurinaitis, St.L 125 104 21
Kuechly was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 14 after tallying a career-high 16 tackles in the Panthers’ 30-20 win over Atlanta, who entered the game with the NFC’s best record (11-1).
The performance marked Kuechly’s third game this season with at least 15 tackles. No other player in the NFL has more than one. Kuechly is tied with an NFL-best eight games this season with at least 10 tackles.
With 138 tackles through 14 games, Kuechly is on pace to make 157 tackles by season’s end. That total would rank as the second-highest mark by a rookie since at least 1991 according to statistics compiled by STATS, LLC.
NFL Rookie Tackle Leaders Since 1991 (Statistics compiled by STATS, LLC)
Player Tot Season
Patrick Willis, S.F. 174 2007 * AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
DeMeco Ryans, Hou. 156 2006 * AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
Zach Thomas, Mia. 154 1996
Luke Kuechly, Car. 157 2012
Man in the Middle
In the 10 games since moving to the middle linebacker position in Week Five at Seattle (10/7/12), Kuechly has averaged 11.3 tackles per game (113) and recorded one sack, one interception, two passes defensed and three fumble recoveries.
Kuechly’s move to the middle has coincided with improved play by Carolina’s defensive unit as a whole.Since Kuechly’s first game at middle linebacker, the Panthers rank fifth in total defense (312.4), sixth in passing defense (201.2) and 10th in rushing defense (111.2).
Games 1-4 Games 5-14
DEFENSE Avg. Avg. Change
Total Yards Per Game 393.8 312.4 -81.4
Passing Net Yards Per Game 259.0 201.2 -57.8
Rushing Yards Per Game 134.8 111.2 -23.6
Luke Kuechly 2012 Statistics (Press Box Statistics)
Tack Sol Ast Sk Int PD FF FR
138 84 54 1.0 1 4 0 3