Dave Gettleman's pre-draft press conferences are worlds apart from those conducted by Marty Hurney -- evidenced today by his demeanor with the media. He likes to call these 'conversations', and that relaxed, casual style carried on throughout. He spoke about the team's needs, their plans for next week, and some of the inner workings of the front office in preparation for next week.
The biggest question was answered early, and echoes what he said upon arriving in Carolina: The team will be selecting the best players available. However, his BPA list might vary greatly from popular opinion -- and it's here where there could be some deviation on draft night.
Referring to it as Gettleman's BPA list is accurate, because the GM said he will have final say on all draft picks. Again, nothing too earth-shattering, but it does pull away the notion that he'll let his scouts and coaches set the tone on his first draft.
Where is got interesting was discussing the team's approach, as Gettleman said the Panthers were looking at 'talented, NFL ready guys', while also mentioning that he expects the organization can find two starters in the first two rounds. This could preclude the team from taking developmental prospects, or guys who need time to ease into the NFL and learn. The name that immediately jumps out as fulfilling a 'needs to develop' role is wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
There were two things Dave Gettleman praised, and if you read between the lines it says a lot about how he views the team: Firstly that he has faith in the team's cornerbacks following free agency, and that he believes the defensive tackle position in this draft is incredibly deep. Gettleman said that free agency allows a team to follow a BPA plan, and mentioned the team's bumper crop of nickel backs on the roster. He also spoke of second year player Josh Norman, and how he returned from being benched 'a different player', pointing out that he 'learned to play'.
According to the GM, Carolina have used 28 of their 30 allotted visits. He said that the team wanted to keep two open, just in case a prospect needed a last-second physical or interview for an off-field issue. 26 of these visits have been reported, leading us to wonder who the two are that have been in, but not been mentioned.
Also listening to Gettleman's press conference was our own moderator Ivan459. Here are his notes:
- He said the key is getting the picks right, and that he wants guys for "the team". Not sure if that is a reference to wanting guys for the team to win in the future or not (back to the needing guys to win for Rivera now).
- Said he felt that we didn't have any major holes. He struggled trying to even answer the question.
- Feels that the finish down the stretch wasn't "fools gold". Highlighted the NO game at the end of the year.
- Cited his 26 war room sit ins as experience. Is "having fun" with the process.
- Trading down means you can talk yourself out of a good player.
- Said he is still finalizing the draft board. That it will be smoothed out by Saturday.
- Said the Wonderlic can be deceiving, and that if a team has questions about a prospects learning capabilities the coaches will bring him in for several hours and test his intelligence. Used as an indicator, and is not a determining factor in picking someone.
- Said JR has been involved in the process so far. "Can't put a price tag" on JR's football and business wisdom.
- Seemed to rule out trading up, citing the lack of picks this year and that we only have 6 next year.