The NFL draft gets faster-paced than the slow first round, and it didn’t take long for the Carolina Panthers to get on the clock and select Kawann Short, a DT out of Purdue.
The move looks like it will take the interior defensive line from a weakness to a strength area when you include their first round pick yesterday, former Utah Ute Star Lotulelei.
Short is 6-3 299 lbs, and has first-round ability but uneven effort over his career and a better Senior Bowl game tape than his previous collegiate tape made people wonder about where he falls, exactly. It looks like a second-round pick is not too much to spend on the guy, however, as he has very long arms to swat passes at the line of scrimmage.
He has a great anchor against the run and should really help close up the middle of that defense and keep blockers off the linebackers. He probably needs a dose of “tough love” coaching to bring out all of his natural ability and if that can happen, the Panthers will have a nice, difficult wall to run through for opposing runners.
With this new rookie duo in place, Lotulelei is the obvious starter with Short being someone to start out rotating in to keep the middle fresh and be another widebody on short yardage and goal line sets, where the Panthers didn’t play particularly well overall. Kuechly helped on a couple of nice stands, but the problems in the middle are well known.
That is…were well known.
With pretty good depth at corner, what the defense needs now in order to become complete is a ball hawk in that free safety spot to help turn the ball over from hurried quarterbacks with the Panthers’ ends battering on him.
Now we get to see what Gettleman, Rivera & co. have in mind for Saturday since they lack the third round pick tonight. I’m hoping they can get some sort of help on their offensive line!