Originally written on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 7/29/12
SPARTANBURG, SC --- Luke Kuechly isn't your typical starry-eyed rookie linebacker, so says Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. The team's first-round draft pick No. 9 overall this past April, Kuechly has stepped right in and made his presence felt. He isn't going to have to sit behind a veteran watching and waiting for his turn to eventually arrive. It's here. Kuechly is already one of the Panthers' most important players. "He's way ahead," Rivera said at the team's training camp site at Wofford College, comparing Kuechly to most first-year linebackers. "He's done such a great job. He's such a sharp football player, a natural football player. He's not just learning what we are doing but he can reply on his natural instincts of just getting it and understanding what's going on." On the very first play the first-team defense lined up Saturday evening, Kuechly was the starter at one of the outside spots. An inside linebacker for almost every snap of his college career - one...
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