Linebacker Luke Kuechly, the No. 9 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, agreed to a four-year, $12.58 million contract with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, a source with knowledge of the situation told NFL Network's Michael Lombardi.
Kuechly is the highest 2012 draft pick to agree to a contract thus far. The Seattle Seahawks' Bruce Irvin (No. 15) and San Diego Chargers' Melvin Ingram (No. 18) are the only other first-round picks to agree to terms on contracts.
When the Panthers selected Kuechly last month out of Boston College, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said: "I call him Clark Kent, and he can turn into Superman on Saturdays and Sundays. He's one of the cleanest players in this draft. His instincts and his pass-coverage ability might be the best of any linebacker I've seen come out of the draft."
Along with Kuechly, the Panthers also agreed to terms with guard Amini Salotolu from Midwestern State (40th overall), defensive end Frank Alexander from Oklahoma (103rd overall), punt returner Joe Adams (104th overall), cornerback Josh Norman from Coastal Carolina (143rd overall), punter Brad Nortman (207th overall) and safety D.J. Campbell (216th overall).
However, the Panthers will get their first look at Kuechly and it will be interesting to see where he lines up.
Carolina wasted no time selecting Kuechly but coach Ron Rivera wouldn't say where he plans to play him, saying only that his versatility and ability to play all three linebacker positions is one of the main reasons they chose the two-time All-America selection from Boston College.
"We're going to look at it, we really are, and just see how it all meshes," Rivera said. "This is one of those picks where it makes your group better and your unit better. The reason we drafted the kid is he has tremendous versatility.
"Whether he's playing the Sam, the Mike or the Will for us, this guy has an opportunity to make an impact for us. We're going to put the best football players on the field and we're going to play them."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.