Panthers pick: A.J. Klein

April 27, 2013 

  • A.J. Klein Height: 6-foot-1 Weight: 250 pounds Position: Linebacker School: Iowa State What he offers: Klein can play all three linebacker spots, and essentially fills the role of ex-Panther Jason Phillips, who signed with Philadelphia as a free agent this offseason. Why he fits: Klein is best suited as a run-stopper at the middle and strongside spots. He can play special teams while backing up Luke Kuechly and Jon Beason, who missed all but five games the past two seasons. Worth mentioning: The knock on Klein is his straight-ahead speed, although he ran the 40-yard dash in a respectable 4.66 seconds at the combine and returned four of his five career interceptions at Iowa State for touchdowns. Bet you didn’t know: The athletic teams at Klein’s high school in Kimberly, Wisc., are nicknamed the Papermakers. The town had a large paper mill built by Kimberly-Clark in the late-1800s that made newsprint. What they’re saying: “He’s got versatility. He’s a tough kid. He plays hard, and he’s got speed. We feel obviously he can help on (special) teams. But the biggest thing is the versatility,” – general manager Dave Gettleman.

A quick look at the Carolina Panthers’ fifth-round draft pick, A.J. Klein

Round 5, No. 148

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 250 pounds

Position: Linebacker

School: Iowa State

What he offers: Klein can play all three linebacker spots, and essentially fills the role of ex-Panther Jason Phillips, who signed with Philadelphia as a free agent this offseason.

Why he fits: Klein is best suited as a run-stopper at the middle and strongside spots. He can play special teams while backing up Luke Kuechly and Jon Beason, who missed all but five games the past two seasons.

Worth mentioning: The knock on Klein is his straight-ahead speed, although he ran the 40-yard dash in a respectable 4.66 seconds at the combine and returned four of his five career interceptions at Iowa State for touchdowns.

Bet you didn’t know: The athletic teams at Klein’s high school in Kimberly, Wisc., are nicknamed the Papermakers. The town had a large paper mill built by Kimberly-Clark in the late-1800s that made newsprint.

What they’re saying: “He’s got versatility. He’s a tough kid. He plays hard, and he’s got speed. We feel obviously he can help on (special) teams. But the biggest thing is the versatility,” – general manager Dave Gettleman.

--Joseph Person

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