Since the departures of first Kris Jenkins and then Ma’ake Kemoeatu (who would miss his final year on injured reserve), the Carolina Panthers’ defensive tackle position hasn’t been what you would describe as stout.
Minimal free agent investments failed to fix a problem as teams bulldozed through their week interior, while the 2011 decision to spend draft picks on both Terrell McClain and Sione Fua backfired spectacularly as both started, flopped and were ditched after just over two years with the team.
But to Dave Gettleman that was the old regime, and while it was a problem he inherited it was a problem he wasn’t going to waste time fixing. So with his first selection as a General Manager he capitalized on a mini-draft day slide for Star Lotulelei by selecting him with the 14th overall pick. Lotulelei would have a fine rookie year and garner plenty of positive attention as his work in the run game (earning the sixth-highest grade of all defensive tackles) helped transform the defense and the team into a far different beast.
Only Lotulelei wasn’t the only defensive tackle drafted and helped turn a once laughably bad position into a strength. No, the team also used a second round pick on Kawann Short, a man who could develop into an even more valuable piece of the Panthers’ puzzle and a man who is our Carolina Panthers Secret Superstar.
I loved the KK pick and had mocked him several times myself to the Panthers since I felt that Star wouldn't fall (no pun intended). I can't wait to see our DL at full power this season.