4 big factors behind Scott Fitterer’s first draft as Panthers GM

Dean Jones
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn is drafted
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn is drafted /
1 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Fan holds Jaycee Horn’s new jersey /

What were the big factors behind Scott Fitterer’s approach to his first NFL Draft as general manager of the Carolina Panthers?

There was plenty of intrigue heading into the 2021 NFL Draft where the Carolina Panthers were concerned. This was down in no small part to the presence of a forward-thinking general manager in Scott Fitterer, who gained a formidable reputation in league circles for playing a significant part in the college selection process during his time as a member of the Seattle Seahawks front office.

To say Fitterer made his presence felt in Year 1 of his reign during the draft would be something of an understatement. Working closely with head coach Matt Rhule, he completely transformed the way Carolina approached the process despite the evaluation process looking far different this year due to the obvious COVID-19 concerns.

Of course, nobody will know for sure just how well this draft has gone for the Panthers until we see how these rookies perform on the field and how many earn their place on the rotation. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that in terms of structure and purpose, Carolina has the right man in Fitterer.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the big factors behind Fitterer’s first draft as general manager of the Panthers.

Factor No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) Terrace Marshall Jr. /

Carolina Panthers played their board superbly

Sticking to the draft board might sound simple, in theory. But it has been the undoing of plenty of teams across the league over the years. The Carolina Panthers haven’t escaped this under previous regimes, so it was refreshing to see such a calculated approach from Scott Fitterer and others in power across the organization.

It takes a sharp mind and some real conviction to react according to the board with little time to make the necessary moves. Fitterer was “masterful” on Day 2 of the draft according to Matt Rhule and this is a trend that continued into the third and final day with yet more high-quality selections that should add to what the Panthers already possess on their roster.

At the very least, it has Carolina’s loyal fanbase looking ahead with expectation rather than trepidation, which is always half the battle after years of mediocrity.