When Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman saw Star Lotulelei’s name on the board, it was love at first sight.
“I mean, you know,” Gettleman said of the Utah defensive tackle. “It’s like when you guys met your wives, you knew, you knew.”
So even though the Panthers entered the weekend with the fewest picks in the league (five, along with the Saints and Bears), Gettleman was never tempted to trade down from 14th.
“No. Why not? . . . If I have a dollar, I’d rather have the dollar than the three dimes. That’s all there is to it,” Gettleman said. “There’s no, listen, when you trade back, you can think you’re smart, but there’s no guarantee, there are none. From my view, Star was too good to pass up. Why talk yourself out of somebody good, ‘Oh I’m going to be clever.’ The guy’s a player. He fits what we do. He’s very talented. He’s mature.
“And, it gives us the chance to really, I mean, you look historically at the Super Bowl Champions, and you show me one that’s had a bad defensive front. It doesn’t happen. I’m telling you, it does not happen. . . . And you know, in this league, I’ve seen it first-hand guys, I’ve seen what that does for you first-hand.”
The Panthers will station Lotulelei next to veteran defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (6.5 sacks last year), between double-digit sack ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. While not as deep as the talented Giants lines Gettleman referred to, they’re certainly better up front on paper than they’ve been in years.