Drafting back-to-back rookies of the year means you're doing something right. It shows a knack for eyeing talent, and not paying attention to external forces who claim a team is 'reaching' for a prospect. That being said, there are opportunities to look across the entire draft and wonder if picks could have been better utilized in hindsight. This is an answer to 'would you rather?' that I'm interested in hearing from the fan base.
Lets get this out of the way first: I love Luke Kuechly as a player. If you were on CSR this time last year then you'll know he was my favorite defensive prospect in the draft, and to steal from Mike Mayock, I 'pounded the table' for him. My only question was whether the team could afford to select another linebacker, leading me to think defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was the best choice for the Panthers.
Fast forward a year, and I'm thrilled with Kuechly. Obviously he's a machine, but the flip-side is that Carolina still lack an elite defensive tackle. In terms of prospects this year, I don't think any hold a candle to Fletcher Cox -- except Star Lotulelei, who will surely be gone by the 14th pick.
Concurrently, there's one player in the 2013 class who is drawing lofty comparisons to Kuechly and Jon Beason -- Arthur Brown of Kansas State. A lot of mocks have him going in the second, but talk to some of the best scouts and talent evaluators and they'll be stunned if he makes it past Chicago who hold the 20th overall pick. Personally, I don't think he's quite as good as Kuechly, but I understand where the comparisons come from.
Now for the big question:
Luke Kuechly and Sheldon Richardson
Fletcher Cox and Arthur Brown