Star Lotulelei was crowned as the prize of the Carolina Panthers 2013 NFL Draft when he slipped to the 14th pick. Though Lotulelei is a dominating beast inside the trenches, the Panthers’ second-round pick last year – Kawann Short, is poised to have a breakout 2014 season.
The Carolina Panthers defensive line is arguably one of the most feared in the league, and they are young. They are fast. They are strong. They are, Monsters, Inc.
Kawann Short was the 44th overall
player selected last season and was drafted with the hopes of helping Lotulelei anchor the Panthers’ defensive line for the next decade. When these two players are on the field together, it is clear that Short is the perfect compliment to Lotulelei.
Short’s game, which is based on quickness and strength, balances Lotulelei’s bruising, massive-attacking style. Both are still learning the nuances of the game at the NFL level, but both showed a ton of flashes last year to have us Panther fans excited for what’s on the horizon.
While KK (Short’s nickname) was a rotational DT last year, he made his presence known when given the opportunity. Currently, 33-year old veteran tackle Dwan Edwards occupies the slot beside Lotulelei. However, Short’s play will demand that he eventually earn Edwards’ spot as the season wears on.
Short, is a 6’3″, 310-pound disruptive force from Purdue. While starring on the Boilermakers’ defense, Short always had a nose for the ball. He was a gifted playmaker that always seemed to be involved wherever the play was. Quite athletic for his size, KK plays with a passion for the game that is hard to find.
Though he is passionate about football, the knock on him coming out of college was that he would coast through plays too frequently. His ability to dominate opposing players would cause Short to take plays off or not give 100% all of the time.
During the Panthers’ 2013 season, Short was often seen wreaking havoc in the trenches and coming very close to making primetime plays.
Every game, Short was disengaging his man and separating himself, but just missing the quarterback or running back. Short did make some plays that made fans see why Gettleman was so determined to nab him in the draft. Gettleman called Short the best interior pass rusher in the 2013 draft, and was clearly at the top of Carolina’s “big board” during the 2013 draft.
Short is being brought along at a good pace right now, but he will emerge more as this coming season wears on.
He made an impact whenever given the opportunity in 2013, and had great efficiency against the run while on the field. His sack numbers were not huge, but his hurries and stout run defense went a little unnoticed in the box score. With a year under his belt and being held to a high standard with the surrounding personalities of Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy, Star Lotulelei, Colin Cole and Dwan Edwards, Short will be forced to maintain his intensity.
This is a very positive environment for Short to improve his current skills, and elevate them to elite status.
He might not be penciled in as the starter now, but he will dominate in his second year Panther fans. Energy and potential like his can be bottled up for only so long before it erupts. Put on your safety goggles Cat Crave Nation, you are about to witness the KK explosion in 2014.