Always candid, Dave Gettleman sat down with 'The Mac Attack' on WFNZ this morning to talk about the 2013 draft class, and the roster as a whole. For the first time he was asked a question the straight-shooter dodged.
Update: WFNZ have made the interview available online. You can listen to it here.
Focusing early on the draft it became abundantly clear that Kawann Short was always the Panthers' second-round target. When he was on the board Gettleman said there was "very little conversation" about taking him, also pointing out that he'd spoken to Jerry Richardson that morning and told him that the team needed to make the move to take Short if he was there -- something JR agreed with.
When asked about the lack of addressing the secondary through the draft, the Panthers' GM said "the mistake in the draft is reaching based on need", alluding to how he felt the team "did a nice job filling the needs in free agency". He specifically mentioned Josh Norman, Josh Thomas, and D.J. Campbell as players who improved as the season went on. A common line throughout the interview was "sometimes the answer is already on the roster".
Gettleman stopped short of saying the team wouldn't add more defensive backs, citing the importance of competition. We know what his sensibilities are, and the plan is to worry about pass rush -- then the secondary: "You know my background, it's amazing what a pass rush can do."
The forth round selection of Edmund Kugbila was the most controversial pick of the weekend, but he had a very simple answer to a big question: "No, it was not a reach". When evaluating a small-school player, Dave Gettleman talked about how you need to see him dominating at that competition level, then project whether you could see him doing the same at the highest level. He felt this way about Kugbila.
On sixth round pick Kenjon Barner, he characterized him as having "legitimate home run speed", and said he would be primarily a third-down back. Then we had the biggest question of the day, and one he dodged. Gettleman was asked what Barner means to DeAngelo Williams, and specifically whether Williams would remain on the roster. His answer was that "you can never have too many good players at one position", but he would not commit to saying DeAngelo would be on the roster at the start of the season -- calling the situation "fluid". Trying to turn a tough question into a joke, he said "none of us know if we'll be here tomorrow!", but it was abundantly clear he wasn't willing to talk about D-Will.
When the question of wide receivers came up, Gettleman was Bullish on Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell saying "nobody needs to be reminded about their credentials". He spoke about Domenik Hixon, but it's clear that despite fan belief, Smith and LaFell will be the starters yet again. On the back-end of the depth chart, he alluded to Ted Ginn getting over-drafted, and being stuck in a situation where he was unable to live up to expectations. However, he thinks Carolina offers an opportunity for him. The only other receiver he talked about was Joe Adams, saying he "is coming along nicely". As we've said, it's premature to put the nail in Adams' coffin, because the team perception and fan perception do not match.
Overall it was a candid, and fascinating interview. The big take-aways are that he's happy with the class, his plan is to turn the Panthers into the New York Giants, and it really feels like this is the beginning of the end for DeAngelo Williams' tenure in Carolina.