GM Gettleman's moves have been questioned, but his 2nd round selection may have been clairvoyant

Carolina Panthers 2013 Draft Grade

I’m not going to grade the Panthers 2013 draft. That would be pointless. How can you place a grade on players that have yet to play a down of football? Even basing your grade on how you feel about the picks is pointless. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is how that player plays the game of football at the NFL level.

However, I will say that I am very happy with this draft. It didn’t go nearly the way I thought that it would, but I made my peace with my expectations when the Panthers picked Star Lotulelei at 14 overall. I was screaming offensive line for the entire offseason. but Star was too good to pass on.

As I said, things didn’t go my way. The Panthers took two defensive tackles in the first two rounds. I crinkled my brow in confusion at the Kawann Short pick. I’ll admit that. I had the same reaction to the Edmund Kugbila pick. I didn’t see the logic in drafting another D-2 guard. When the Panthers took A.J. Klein I realized what was going on. Dave Gettleman wasn’t drafting for Ron Rivera’s future. Dave Gettleman was drafting for the road that beyond, the road that may not include Ron Rivera.

Let’s not forget the mountainous task that Dave Gettleman has before him in regards to the Panthers salary cap woes. There are several players with large contracts that could be casualties come the offseason next year. Jon Beason, Deangelo Williams, Charles Godfrey. These are players that got paid as if they were top 10 players at their positions. Beason was, but has not earned the contract that he was given. So what do you do? You look for replacements. Cheaper replacements. It’s chess, not checkers.

A.J. Klein could be looked at as a replacement for Beason, just as Kenjon Barner can be looked at as a replacement for Deangelo Williams.  He has freedom with Kugbila because he’s going to take time to develop. He’s not worried about plugging him in as a starter. Gettleman has the luxury of letting him develop. Ron Rivera does not. Running back is no longer a premium position anymore. Barner could make a difference as a kick returner immediately, be a third down back, catch some passes in space out of the backfield, and produce. He intelligently made draft picks based upon what our true need is. And our true need is salary cap relief.

Also, I think that we’re going to have one of the best front seven’s in football if injuries don’t pile up on us. Our offense hasn’t had much difficulty scoring points the past couple of seasons, they just didn’t get any help from the defense until the mid-point of last season when the playoffs were already out of reach. I see good things on the horizon for the Carolina Panthers. And I’ll grade this draft in three years. Just be patient until then.

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Tags: 2013 NFL Draft Carolina Panthers

  • Cam.45 (Smith&Olsen)

    I completely agree with you. Cap relief is priority right now. The same goes with fans upset that we didnt draft a receiver. Smitty has a couple of years left in him and Lafell needs to step it up. Even the acquisition of Hixon maybe a key pick up working the slot. Its not like we cant score points, its the fact we cant keep em off the board. 2013 should be fun all around… GO PANTHERS!

    Ottawa, Ontario CANADA

  • Gary Wayne LaShier

    Excellent write up! I totally agree that it’s going to take a couple of years to clean up Hurney’s mess. With that said, I’m ecstatic over the 1st round pick of Star. As a fan, the very first thing I focused on was immediately looking at what the top DT prospect was in the 2013. Back in January, not only was Star rated the best DT coming out of college entering the draft, but many so called “experts” had him projected as the number one pick overall. Star’s misdiagnosis of a heart condition causing him to miss participating in the Combine, is the only reason he dropped so far even after he was cleared and had a stellar Pro-Day work-out. After the news had been released that he only had a virus prior to the draft, I thought, ‘DAMN!” He’s sure to go before 14!”. Double dipping into the DT position was a mild shocker as I had thought if the Panthers didn’t take DT Richardson (boggles my mind that the Jets took him BEFORE Star!), that they’d fill the DT need with Short in the second round. As it turns out, the Panthers front seven now has the potential to be a top 5 defense even with a so-so unproven secondary. Those two picks alone made this draft in my opinion. Any other immediate contributions from the 3 other picks would just be gravy in my opinion. I am SO stoked for the season to start!!!

  • ahrcshaw

    Good summation. When you look at the current roster there is a lot of dead weight as well as needs. When you looked at the Cap, free agents, and draft, Gettleman had no other choice then to go for future. Apparently D Williams and Beason for some reason didn’t have their contracts adjusted or they were left out of the equation for yr 2014 and beyond. Solving all the problems for yr 2013 to make it a Supper Bowl team was a big reach. By no means does that mean the Panthers will not create havoc. The talent in the draft directed the free agency moves, the best chance for the Panthers were not OT’s DB’s or WR’s it was DT’s so Gettleman shored up the DB with cheap free agents, drafted big time DT’s, in the later draft and undrafted added talented young LB, RB, QB, TE, DE and SS. Gettleman actually improved 2013 as well as looking beyond it, but really opened the door for big moves in 2014.

    I believe you will see all 5 draftees on the depth chart, as well as at least 3 of the undrafted. A new QB, SS, and TE possibly a DE, I do not have their names at my disposal. You can never rule out the Undrafted. Go Panthers