CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Panthers have selected linebacker Luke Kuechly from Boston College with the ninth overall pick in the NFL draft, hoping to bolster a defense which finished 28th in the league last season.
Kuechly is expected to compete for a starting job right away at outside linebacker with Thomas Davis, who is coming off three torn ACLs in the past three seasons.
Kuechly averaged 14 tackles per game for his career and received the Bronko Nagurski Award for the nation's top defensive player. He is the only ACC player to lead the league in tackles three times in his career.
The Panthers had needs up and down the defense heading into Thursday's draft, but decided to go with Kuechly, the most proven defensive player left on the draft board.
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