Carolina Panthers No. 3: Not drafting Luke Kuechly’s replacement
Losing Luke Kuechly to retirement is something that the Carolina Panthers might not ever replace fully. The linebacker was the heart and soul of their defense from the moment he stepped onto the field. And a longer-term solution to the team’s current options at the position will need to be sought sooner rather than later.
One way they could have solved this is by taking a replacement in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Panthers ended up allocating every pick on the defensive side of the ball. But remarkably, this did not include a linebacker.
There were plenty of intriguing options in the draft. But the Panthers opted to fill other areas of need. The likes of Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen have the capability to become valuable starters at the next level. And neglecting this area was a gamble for Carolina.
If it blows up in their face next season, then linebacker will be arguably their top priority in 2021. Players such as Dylan Moses and Micah Parsons lead the incoming class. And both could be viable options for the Panthers depending on where they are selecting next year.
The responsibility of replacing Kuechly will fall on Tahir Whitehead in the short-term. The player has a previous relationship with Matt Rhule from their time together at Temple. And he has been a solid if not spectacular performer during his career.