The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year came in at No. 15 Wednesday night on NFL.com's list of the league's top 100 players. There already are two defensive players -- Texas defensive end J.J. Watt (12) and St. Louis end Robert Quinn (13) -- ranked ahead of him with the top 10 players still to be revealed next week.
If you're voted the league's top defensive player, one who tied an NFL single-game record with 24 tackles in a Dec. 22 game against New Orleans, a top-10 ranking would seem assured.
This poll came on top of one from Pro Football Focus that ranked Kuechly 80th on a list of the league's top 101 players. According to that publication, the team's leading tackler with 156 wasn't even the best linebacker on the Panthers.
Thomas Davis was ranked 52nd.
Davis didn't even make NFL.com's list, so there is some disrespect there as well.
PFF said Kuechly was a product of being on the league's No. 2 defense and that tackles weren't necessarily the best way of measuring a player's worth. What the publication didn't mention was that Kuechly was a big reason the defense ranked No. 2.
Besides leading the team in tackles, he tied for the team lead in interceptions with four and had two sacks on a team that didn't blitz him a lot.
Kuechly has been so dominant in two seasons out of Boston College that "Monday Night Football" analyst Jon Gruden called him a "beast'' and compared him to Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis.