Could former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly one day become a general manager?
The list of former players to become executives within an NFL organization is a relatively short one. But there have been a few recent success stories. And could former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly be next?
Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway became the general manager/president of football operations for the organization in 2011. And he constructed a roster that got them a Super Bowl victory in 2016. In his first season as GM, he drafted All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller and he led the charge in signing future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning back in 2012.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Broncos safety John Lynch is another example of a player turned successful NFL executive. He is the general manager of a young, talented San Francisco 49ers team that is fresh off of a Super Bowl LIV appearance.
The comparisons between Lynch and Kuechly are vast. Both defensive standouts seemed to always have an edge and be aware of what the opposing offense was doing. Their knowledge and understanding of the game at the highest level routinely put them in positions to make a huge impact on their respective teams.
Unlike Kuechly, Lynch went into broadcasting directly after his playing days. This was an unconventional path to an NFL general manager position. But it is important to remember that he never stopped watching film and evaluating players during this period.
Earlier this month Kuechly officially joined the Panthers as a pro scout. This move has many wondering if the former All-Pro linebacker could one day run a team as a general manager. He definitely has the intellect and determination to press forward to the top of his profession if given the opportunity.
Having been such an elite player for so long, Kuechly also possesses the knowledge to evaluate what it takes to be successful in the NFL.
The parallels between former Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and John Lynch
When Lynch first took over as general manager for the 49ers in 2017 the team was in need of a complete rebuild. It lacked a future franchise quarterback, young talent, and stability. Fast forward to 2020 and San Francisco seems to have addressed all their needs.
Kuechly will obviously not be able to make the immediate impact on the roster that Lynch did in his scouting role. But he certainly can help improve the team and shorten the length of the current rebuild with the Carolina Panthers.
Kuechly is joining a team that is not likely to be in the playoff race in the near future. This was similar to what Lynch had to face when he arrived in San Francisco. It has the potential to put even more pressure on front-office positions due to the likeliness they will hold a high draft pick next spring.
Teams must be able to turn these selections into elite NFL players or they risk the possibility of being stuck in a rebuilding process for decades like the Cleveland Browns. The 49ers were able to capitalize by drafting young core players that the team has built a competitive roster around.
Kuechly will likely spend the foreseeable future as just a scout with the Panthers evaluating and developing players. But don’t be surprised if the legendary figure one day chooses to follow in Lynch’s footsteps and move on to a more business-savvy role that could ultimately lead him into making the majority of roster decisions in the future.