Description: Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly has been named the AP's Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Insight: The Boston College product greatly exceeded expectations as a rookie, leading the NFL in tackles with 164 takedowns in 16 games. Kuechly is big, fast, intelligent and probably the best defender on Carolina's roster. Look for him to have another strong year in 2013.
12/31/2012 6:10:00 PM
Description: Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly had the most tackles in the NFL this season and it wasn't even close. After Kuechly's 164 tackles, the next highest total belonged to 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman with 149 tackles.
Insight: Kuechly's strong play was a huge reason why the Panthers were able to go from 28th in the NFL in total defense last season to 10th this season. The 21-year-old out of Boston College has a bright future ahead of him.