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Patrick Willis vs Luke Kuechly

Who was better?  

74 members have voted

  1. 1. Who was better?



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Each played 8 seasons, had 5 all-pro seasons, 7 Pro Bowls, were DROY, and lost their only Super Bowl appearance. Luke won DPOY once, an honor Willis never received

(stats courtesy of @y2lamanaki)

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Even without the DPOY, I say Willis. Those Niner Defenses were elite and Willis leading the way, and he was an absolute machine. Niners had some terrible coaches and lackluster talent his first few years as well. Luke always had Rivera and a lot of defensive talent around him. 
 

This will be close though. Two GOATs. 

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Kuechley, the 49ers had a lot of defensive talent around Willis and Kuechley was usually a one man show in their front seven. 

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Willis was the best player at his position as a rookie and probably the next few years.  He did everything but his impact faded a bit after the emergence of Bowman and was hampered by hamstring and groin issues.  Had SF won that SB he’d  be a lock.

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Kuechly's numbers across the board are better then Willis's Tackles (1092), PD (66), TO's (25), Tck 4 loss (75). On far less talented Defenses IMO.

Luke

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19 minutes ago, Nabbs4u said:

Kuechly's numbers across the board are better then Willis's Tackles (1092), PD (66), TO's (25), Tck 4 loss (75). On far less talented Defenses IMO.

Luke

you do realize its easier to put up 'numbers' as a LB on a bad team, right? more third down conversions for the offense means more snaps means more time to accumulate 'numbers'.

Willis was the better player

1 hour ago, DirtyDez said:

Willis was the best player at his position as a rookie and probably the next few years.  He did everything but his impact faded a bit after the emergence of Bowman and was hampered by hamstring and groin issues.  Had SF won that SB he’d  be a lock.

They started using bowman in the middle more and dropping willis deeper/into a sort of rover role. I would say this is a pretty accurate assessment though. 

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18 minutes ago, N4L said:

you do realize its easier to put up 'numbers' as a LB on a bad team, right? more third down conversions for the offense means more snaps means more time to accumulate 'numbers'.

Willis was the better player

They started using bowman in the middle more and dropping willis deeper/into a sort of rover role. I would say this is a pretty accurate assessment though. 

Which is it though? You say that Willis was the better player but then agree his impact faded once Bowman arrived and injuries occured?

If you want to say Willis was the better LB their first 3-4 seasons, I can get on board with that. Over their 8 year careers though I'll disagree, its Kuechly!

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Just now, Nabbs4u said:

Which is it though? You say that Willis was the better player but then agree his impact faded once Bowman arrived and injuries occured?

If you want to say Willis was the better LB their first 3-4 seasons, I can get on board with that. Over their 8 year careers though I'll disagree, its Kuechly!

My point is that when you are on a good defense you have less opportunities to 'make plays' because you literally play less snaps 

So any supposed edge that luke has for his stats should be thrown out the window as should the argument that Willis played on a better defense and that somehow makes luke better. 

Willis' role changed because he had another generational player next to him for 3 of his 8 seasons. Thats all we are talking about when it comes to Willis/Bowman - 2011, 2012, 2013. Both guys were top 5 players at their position so Willis was asked to do different things than what he was doing before, which made it look like his 'impact faded' when really he was playing more coverage and being moved around based on formation etc. 

 

Peak Willis >> peak kuechly 

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3 hours ago, Nabbs4u said:

Kuechly's numbers across the board are better then Willis's Tackles (1092), PD (66), TO's (25), Tck 4 loss (75). On far less talented Defenses IMO.

Luke

Well, yeah - his numbers would be better on less-talented defenses. Willis had to compete for stats in the prime of his career with another all-pro linebacker in the middle of the field. And Kuechly's numbers aren't better across the board as Willis was the better blitzing linebacker and racked up more sacks, QB hits, and forced fumbles.

That said, trying to pick one of the two is a fool's errand. If ever two players were "even" - it's these two. Even Pro-Football-Reference's Approximate Value measurement has them dead even. 

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Man that’s tough. Both are definitely among the greatest I’ve ever seen. Right up there with Singletary and Lewis. 

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Willis without hesitation. No disrespect to Kuechly who was also a beast.

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Willis was on pace to be better than Ray Lewis ever was. Kuechly never even came close to that in terms of impact on the field.

Here are their stats, in nearly identical games played:

    Tackles   Fumbles Def Interceptions
Rk Player From To AV G Solo Ast QBHits TFL Sk FF FR Yds TD Int Yds TD
1 Luke Kuechly 2012 2019 107 118 690 402 31 75 12.5 7 9 43 1 18 168 1
2 Patrick Willis 2007 2014 107 112 733 217 41 60 20.5 16 5 3 0 8 131 2

Willis was such a monster in the middle of the field. 

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Willis based on my iTest. He was the perfect middle linebacker. Strong enough to take on OL in the second level, fast enough to catch RBs from behind. 

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Patrick Willis was better. At his peak I thought he could’ve competed with Ray outside of his DPOY seasons. Though Kuechly was also a beast but I thought he was somewhere between Willis and Wagner.

Edited by diamondbull424

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