Kuechly sounding like a pro already

Kuechly sounding like a pro already
March 22, 2012, 8:04 pm
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It would be interesting to see Luke Kuechly rattled. As of now, it's tough to imagine.

The former Boston College linebacker, a projected first-round NFL Draft pick, changes direction in interviews as smoothly as he does on the field. Kuechly held court for over 10 minutes during Wednesday's Pro Day. Reporters set questions up and Kuechly felled them, with an efficiency more resembling a machine gun than an axe.

In certain instances the 21-year old sounded like he was schooling veteran media members on the Combine and Pro Day processes.

"Each room's kind of different," Kuechly said of February's interviews in Indianapolis. "But they can only meet with you for 15 minutes so they can't get a whole bunch of stuff done. It's a lot of quick background stuff -- where you're from, who your family is -- some teams watch a little bit of film with you. But it's 15 minutes at the end of the day it's snapsnapsnapsnap and you're out the door."

Was New England one of the 18-20 teams he met with at the Combine?

"Yeah."

Who from the Patriots did he talk with?

"Everything kind of washes together."

So that interview just melted right into a chitchat with, let's say, Tampa Bay? Sure.

To think about it, Kuechly's cold calm in handling interrogation suits him. He doesn't waste a minute during workouts. Kuechly answered questions about his speed by posting a 4.58 40-yard dash at the Combine.

On Pro Day he worked head-and-shoulders above the rest: cleaner direction changes with a quicker burst, smooth through the hips coming out of breaks. A textbook tackler showing how it's done.

Philadelphia Eagles linebackers coach Mike Caldwell, who directed the group of four linebackers at Alumni Stadium, was likely pleased. Kuechly has been linked to the Eagles for weeks and said Caldwell called him last week to say he'd be in Boston.

But has the flirtation been tempered by the Eagles' recent signing of DeMeco Ryans? Kuechly appeared unbothered by the idea.

"One of my buddies told me about the Ryans deal," Kuechly smiled. "He's a good player."
Completely unfazed. No rambling declaration of why he's still worthy of Philly's Number 9 pick. Just a grin.

Kuechly similarly dismissed a question regarding Pro Day injury concern. Why risk tweaking a knee when you're a first-round lock, anyway?

"When you're playing it's the last thing you think about," he said. "You've got to go out there and do what you've been doing forever and let your body take care of itself. It's not something that goes across my mind really.

"You just got to get out there and do it. Just another opportunity for people to see you."
So it's back to what Kuechly calls "The Waiting Game." To Carolina, to Cincinnati, and back to IMG Training Academy in Florida. He doesn't have many visits planned yet but "that will pick up," he assured.

"That's the weird part right now is you don't really know what your schedule's going to be. I just found out today that I'm going to be going back to Cincinnati on Saturday.

"You live it day by day and kind of see what they throw at you and go from there."

One would expect nothing less.