2013 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers Greatly Improve Defensive Line

By Andrew Fisher
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers had some pretty clear objectives heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, and atop that list, was improving the defense. That started up front and in round one, when the Panthers took DT Star Lotulelei with the 14th overall selection, and then again in round two, when they snagged DT Kawann Short.

There was good value in taking Lotulelei at No. 14, as some had him projected near the top of the draft board. After Sheldon Richardson went at No. 13, the Panthers had two solid choices for a defensive tackle between Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd, but they ultimately felt Lotulelei was their guy.

Short is a little less known throughout the football world, but he’s a player that should come in right away and provide the Panthers with some quality depth. Carolina considers him to be the best pass-rushing DT in the draft, and they plan to give him plenty of opportunities right away, to get to the quarterback.

Panthers’ GM Dave Gettleman recently commented that the team wants to improve its d-line rotation, simply because of how much passing there is in today’s game. But of course, adding two solid DTs like Lotulelei and Short, will also provide an upgrade to the run defense. Carolina gave up 110 yards per game on the ground last season, a number they’d like to cut down.

You have to give a thumbs up to Carolina for their first two picks. They got quality and value in both rounds, while not reaching for talent.


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