Veteran NFL players often feel threatened by rookies, particularly when they’re high draft picks and play the same position. Among vets, there’s frequently a sense that youngsters are there to steal their jobs.
In Carolina, Jon Beason has come to grips with first-round pick Luke Kuechly’s addition to the Panthers’ linebacker corps, and is taking a more optimistic outlook on the rookie.
“I don’t know how it’s all going to unfold, but I understand the draft pick,” Beason told the Associated Press. “I understand the kid was off the charts. So you draft him and it makes your football team better.”
Beason says Kuechly is coming along quickly.
“Oh, he’s great,” Beason said. “A good young kid and very, very instinctive. Wants to get better. Knows how to prepare. Stays late. He’s a good kid and he’s going to be a great player. … He’s way ahead of the curve for rookies just in terms of his football IQ and how he prepares. He’s going to be successful right away.”
With Beason missing all but one game last season, the Panthers finished 28th in total defense and allowed the sixth-most points in the league. Beason’s return and Kuechly’s addition should translate to much improved 2012 performance.