4 defensive coordinator candidates if Panthers retain Steve Wilks in 2023

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Luke Kuechly /

Carolina Panthers could hire Luke Kuechly

This is the name that many fans want to see.

Look, I get it. Luke Kuechly is an all-time great defensive player and can eat and drink for free at just about any bar in the Carolinas. Becoming an NFL defensive coordinator is a realistic target for the perennial All-Pro, even if it might not be the initial landing spot.

Kuechly has the mental acumen to excel in coaching at the professional level. He has the respect of his peers and of the current and future generation of NFL players.

Veering away, briefly, from the original scope of exploring defensive coordinator candidates, Kuechly absolutely would be a welcome addition to a potential Steve Wilks coaching staff, so long as it’s appropriate and earned. That could ultimately see him in a few possible spots.

Perhaps a role like defensive quality control coach would be a terrific launching pad for the Carolina Panthers legend. Watching film, digging deeper into situational analytics, and being involved in the weekly preparation are all areas in which Kuechly could thrive, all the while learning effective methods and practices from Wilks.

Kuechly would also be a glove-like fit as the team’s linebackers coach. Still a lofty title for an entry-level hire with no experience, but at least the post would focus on the one area in which the Boston College product is unequivocally qualified.

But the objective of a coaching staff is to help the team and the head coach win football games. If Panthers fans want Wilks to remain in the role long-term, his staff must also be comprised of worthy, complimentary pieces that will not stifle the already building momentum he’s brought to the team.

In that sense, Kuechly fits the mold.

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