Today, we kickoff a new series called "In Their Prime," which will be a discussion on which player we would take during the best years of their NFL career. For the first edition of this series, Jason Hewitt and myself discuss who we would build our defense around between Julius Peppers and Luke Kuechly.
When you talk about the Mt. Rushmore of the Carolina Panthers organization, two names you immediately think of is defensive end Julius Peppers and linebacker Luke Kuechly. Both players were at one point in their career, the best player at their position in the league.
Julius Peppers was an elite pass rusher that offensive lines absolutely hated seeing and Luke Kuechly was a headache to deal with because he knew exactly where every single play was going and could shut things down quickly. Playing against Kuechly is like a game of chess that you can't win.
Both are likely on the way to be inducted into the Hall of Fame at some point in the near future, so we came up with a very difficult question. Who would you take during their prime? Luke Kuechly or Julius Peppers?
"I would take Kuechly all day. As amazing as Peppers was, Kuechly’s football IQ is unmatched. It was like having an extra coach who was able to play on the field. Kuechly would hurt teams in the backfield and in pass coverage. He was THE quintessential middle linebacker. Don’t get me wrong; Peppers was a beast who was able to hurt teams in the running and passing game with his relentless presence. But if I had the opportunity tO make life even more difficult for my opponent, I would take Kuechly."
"Picking between these two is like splitting hairs. It really just comes down to what kind of player you want to build your defense around. A legitimate pass rusher or a linebacker that possibly has more knowledge of the game than anyone in the league? It's a tough choice, but I would give a very slight edge to Kuechly. Elite linebackers are hard to come by and ones like Kuechly don't come around that often. Edge rushers are a dime a dozen these days and it's much easier to find quality guys at the position than it is at linebacker."
Who are you taking Peppers or Kuechly? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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