Panthers add defensive tackle in round two
by Staff Reports
By Max Henson
CHARLOTTE - Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman believes big men allow you to compete. He also believes in drafting the best player available.
Those philosophies made Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short a clear choice in the second round with the 44th overall pick in the draft.
"(Kawann) was at the top of our board," Gettleman said. "I feel great about this pick."
Said head coach Ron Rivera, "We're excited about it. (Kawann) gives us more depth, gives us a better rotation up front. This is going to be a formidable group."
With Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei already in the fold with the 14th overall selection, the Panthers have dramatically enhanced their defensive tackle rotation.
Gettleman insists a potent defensive line rotation is critical to building a championship-caliber defense.
"(Offenses) are throwing the ball 55 percent of the time now," Gettleman said. "You need to be able to rotate these guys through so they can create the havoc they are capable of creating."
Short (6-3, 308 pounds) is certainly capable of creating havoc. He did so for four years at Purdue, finishing his career with 186 tackles, 49 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks.
"He is the most natural pass rusher of all the defensive tackles in the draft," Gettleman said. "Pass rushing is natural for him. It's easy. He's very instinctive about what he's doing and the way he uses his hands. He's got great hips. It's just easy for him."
And Short believes it will be easy to adjust to his new home in Carolina.
The defensive tackle nicknamed "KK" by friends fell in love with the city of Charlotte when he arrived for a pre-draft visit, and he built a solid rapport with the Panthers coaching staff.
"This is a dream come true. I visited and I loved it from Day One. The coaching staff is unbelievable," Short said in a conference call. "I just felt like I belonged there.
"Just to play football for Carolina is a complete blessing."
Short and the Panthers were seemingly drawn to one another as draft day neared.
Even when Gettleman was studying the other side of the ball he couldn't help but notice the dominant Purdue defensive tackle.
"We were watching an offensive lineman on a Big Ten team. We put on the game against Purdue and we kept seeing this flash, this defensive lineman kicking fanny," Gettleman said. "We realized it was KK. We ended up watching him (instead).
"He's really talented. Just as excited and thrilled as I was yesterday, I am the same way right now."