Every General Manager in the NFL loves to talk about taking the best player available, and not falling victim to reaching for certain players to fill specific needs.
So it’s natural that Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman felt he had to explain himself, after drafting three cornerbacks among his five picks this weekend.
After drafting to one of his team’s deepest positions with defensive tackle Vernon Butler in the first, the Panthers then chose Samford cornerback James Bradberry in the second round, traded up to take West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley in the third round and then took Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez in the fifth.
Gettleman was forced to admit that after taking the franchise tag off cornerback Josh Norman, the Panthers had to adapt their philosophy to make sure they had a depth chart.
“It did. It has to,” he said, via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review. “You have to prevent position disasters.”
With Norman gone and fellow starter Bene Benwikere still recovering from last year’s broken leg, the Panthers didn’t have much to work with. They did go get nickel Brandon Boykin this offseason, but needed to add corners in bulk.
Gettleman said that after a second-round run on corners — Xavien Howard, Mackensie Alexander, Sean Davis and Cyrus Jones — that Bradberry and Worley were the next two on their board.
“We are very pleased, to say the least. They’re both big, they’re both long, they both can run, they’re both physical and they both have really good ball skills,” Gettleman said. “The best part of this thing, I promise you, I’m not lying, we did not reach. . . .
“Very honestly, if you told me two nights ago we were going to come out with Vernon Butler and these two corners, I would’ve been very happy. Again, I don’t feel like we reached, I know we didn’t reach. We didn’t. And I’m excited about it.”
It’s hard to tell whether Gettleman’s trying to convince us or himself, but the Panthers added the needed reinforcements in the secondary. And with the luxury of walking into the draft with so few holes on a talented roster, it was something he could afford to do to fix a shallow position, much in the same way he doubled up on defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in 2013.