Dave Gettleman will address the media from the NFL Combine at 1:15 on Thursday. Knowing Gettleman, he will be measured, honest, and entertaining. You'll hear Gettleman say things like "it's a process," "my philosophy is to use unrestricted free agency to set up the draft," and "we're going to take the best player available, period."
Initially, Panthers fans thought Gettleman kept his true feelings close to the vest. He's a phenomenal scout, so people assumed that he had tricks up his sleeve to be uncovered. It turns out he doesn't. Gettleman says what he sees and does what he says. I know, it's mashugana.
Since he is so transparent, I thought it would be helpful to see what he said prior to last year's Combine in prepping from what we're going to hear out of him Thursday and see from him in this year's draft. Here's what he said, and what we really heard, at last year's combine. You can watch the press address here.
What He Said: "The tackle group is deep. What's nice about the tackle group, it appears right now, is that there is depth throughout."
What We Heard: Everyone is clamoring for left tackle at #25, but I'm not going to pick a tackle just because it's a position of concern. There's enough talent to address this in a later round if there's a guy sitting on the board at another position group who is better.
What He Said: "It's pretty darn deep, the wide receivers group. Any shape and size, you can pick what you like."
What We Heard: I like those big guys, and we're looking at one big, tall receiver to pair alongside Kelvin. It's going to be bunches of Funchess when that happens because big bodies win in the NFL.
What He Said: "Running backs, it's a quality group....depth throughout."
What We Heard: Unless you're getting Todd Gurley, there are plenty of guys out there who can pound the rock who don't require an early draft pick.
What He Said: "My philosophy on unrestricted free agency is use that to set your draft up."
What We Heard: I'm not handcuffing this team in this draft to be forced into drafting a position of need. I'm going to go out there and get some vets who I know can play, like Michael Oher, Kurt Coleman, and Peanut Tillman, which will give us the latitude needed to pick the best possible talent available.
What He Said: "We're taking the best player available....and we'll always do that."
What We Heard: Because all the Jamie Dukes of the world say we need a left tackle in the first, I'm picking a linebacker who many think should be a safety. That takes kishkes!
What He Said: "There are a number of left tackle prospects. There was a kid last year who had strictly played right, and we thought he could play left. He was drafted ahead of us, and the team he went to he ended up playing left and showing he could do it, making us feel good about our process. People have this picture in their head of what a left tackle should look like...they're not all the same."
What We Heard: People are so enamoured by this position and our need for it, so I'm going to show you our process works by getting Daryl Williams, who many don't think can be a starting NFL tackle. Not only are we going to pick Williams, we're going to trade up for him and he will compete in camp against Remmers for a shot at starting at right tackle, and he may just look good enough, you'll start wondering if we are hoping to move him to left tackle in the future.
What He Said: "I've been around teams that have had featured backs. In Denver we had Terrell Davis. In Buffalo, we had Thurman Thomas....I get to the Giants, and it seems that we always have the crew...I think it depends upon what you have...I don't see any issue with a guy carrying most of the load...If he's the right guy."
What We Heard: I'm going to let Ron Rivera ultimately decide how this group plays out, but I think Jonathan Stewart can carry the water full time. If he gets hurt, I'm getting Cameron Artis-Payne in the 5th who really plays in the same bruising way. Did I mention Ron describes him as "a bowling ball. You watch him go inside the piles and really move people. He has great leverage. He will have a chance to come in and take some of the carries off Jonathan.'' I told you this position was deep. He led the SEC in rushing with 123.7 per game and we're getting this overlooked guy in the 5th!
By the Professor, aka Tony Dunn
Follow him on Twitter @Cat_Chronicles