Before the 2012 NFL Draft, Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Jon Beason thought Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly was a safer pick than Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck or Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Little did Beason know that his team was about to use the ninth overall pick in the draft on Kuechly, who led the nation in tackles in 2010 and 2011, finishing his 38-game career with 532 tackles, including 35.5 for a loss and 2.5 sacks. (Kuechly ranked second in the nation in tackles as a freshman in 2009.)
Beason is recovering from a torn Achilles and easily could have taken the selection of Kuechly as a threat to his job security. That won't be the case, as Ron Rivera plans to keep Beason in the middle and use Kuechly on the weak side, with the steady James Anderson returning on the strong side. With his position secure, Beason likes the improved depth the addition of Kuechly has given the linebackers corps.
"I don't know what's going to happen moving forward," Beason said according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. "We've had crazier stuff happen. We had a guy (Thomas Davis) tear an ACL three times. Another guy ruptures an Achilles. You never know what's going to happen. ... At the end of the day, you're grateful that you have some depth at a position.
"Because most of the time if a Cam Newton gets hurt or a Chris Gamble gets hurt or a Charles Johnson gets hurt, you're really left picking up the pieces because you're only so deep in the NFL. But I feel confident we've got four, definitely six guys in our room that could go out and start for anybody in the league."