Skip to main content
Carolina Panthers

2021 Draft Day 2 Transcripts

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer

RE: Recapping the day, including the number of trades

Fitterer: I think we just wanted to put ourselves in a position where we could move down, get in spots where we had players on our board that we valued and that's what we did. We just kind of listened to different offers. We were on the phone nonstop trying to move up, trying to move down, and just really big picture wise trying to get in a position to get those players we had conviction on.

Rhule: I'd say this, I want to make sure I say this for Scott. I thought Scott was masterful today. We came into today, Day 2, thinking we were going to get two players. We came away with three. The way personnel people look at it, a three this year equates to a two next year and then we picked up a four next year. So basically the Sam Darnold trade is paid off now. We got three players that we really like but we've also paid off that trade so I think excellent. The biggest thing to me is three guys instead of two. That's what we wanted.

RE: What it was about the board that made moving down 13 picks for the first trade comfortable

Fitterer: It just had to do with where our numbers were on the board and where we saw the value. We could move back 13 spots, we still had a lot of players that our staff liked, that Coach had conviction on, our scouts had conviction on and we just put ourselves into a position to get certain players we had targeted.

RE: If there is a quality all three players drafted share

Fitterer: All really solid people. Great competitors. Smart. They fit the brand that Coach talks about. Those are the types of guys we want in this program. That's what we did.

Rhule: I would say also, that they are all elite athletes. I mean Brady Christensen, ten‐foot broad, 4.92 at 6‐5, 302. Besides a really good player, a really good person. An elite athlete. Tommy Tremble, an elite athlete. Terrace Marshall, an elite athlete. So, they have the physical abilities to continue to develop at this level.

RE: If the goal today was to target offensive positions specifically

Fitterer: The goal was just to pick good football players. That's what we wanted. Guys that could help our team. If it went offense or defense, I think we went that way. Obviously, we were aware of that situation. I think Coach has done an absolute great job of identifying players that fit his scheme. In the past and today, there were some defensive players there but it got to a point where those offensive players matched our needs and our value and those are the guys we chose.

RE: How they view Brady Christensen's position on the offensive line

Rhule: We think he's a versatile player. A guy who can play outside and inside. We'll wait to see when he gets here where exactly he fits. He comes from that pro style offense at BYU so he's done the things that we are asking guys to do. He's been doing it there. He's a tackle candidate that can also go inside and play guard. Again, a great, great, great athlete. Intelligence, the whole package.

RE: Joe Brady's assessment of Terrace Marshall Jr.

Rhule: Joe wrote him up like anybody else. I mean, he's a player that Fris Jackson, our receiver coach, Joe, they had ranked at the top of the board. I think he was the second receiver taken today. To me, he's a big outside guy. I think the biggest thing Joe said is he could play outside and inside which is really paramount in the things that we try to do.

RE: How important the medical reports were and how confident they are that Marshall is healthy

Fitterer: That's where we rely on our medical staff. He went to the combine. We talked to people outside of our medical staff and we felt confident with where he was at.

RE: If Fitterer has ever previously had a draft night making so many trades and if he has ever drafted someone who is about to turn 25 like Brady Christensen

Fitterer: There was a lot of trading tonight. I've got to say, Coach was so cool during the whole process. Just talking back and forth and talking about players and that was great. Just as far as the trades and how they present themselves, people were calling. We were communicating. Like I said earlier, we just wanted to get in a position where we could take guys. As far as drafting someone that's 24, I don't recall. I'd have to think about it. But, it's not about that. We just liked the person. We liked the athlete. I was at the BYU pro day, and he was really impressive in person. Then you hear about the character, the work ethic, the intelligence, the toughness, that's what really sold us on him.

RE: The athletic measurables and high metric scores of the draft choices and how much priority Rhule puts into those

Rhule: I put a lot of stock into it. If you look at the great players on our team, there are certain positions where maybe not as much, but the great players on our team are all great, great, great athletes. Christian McCaffrey's a great athlete, DJ Moore's a great athlete, Robby Anderson's a great athlete, Taylor Moton's a great athlete, Chinn, Burns, Donte, Shaq. This is a game made up of elite athletes. So, I think if you can find elite athletes with football instincts and also a love of the game, and who treat people well, you have something special. Again, the tape's the most important thing for us but their metrics they just verify that what you see on tape is real. Fast people run fast, they're powerful, they jump high, and these guys do all those things. But these guys were taken off the tape.

RE: How did the collaborative effort worked between Rhule and Fitterer in the trade situations

Fitterer: Matt kept his eye on the board the whole time. He's looking at players that can fit us. He was throwing out ideas left and right. He's got a great sense of how the draft works. He just knows personnel, he knows value. We have a lot of people in there. Samir Suleiman did a great job today. It got a little hectic at times because of so many trades, but he was very poised. Pat Stewart, and all of our guys who were in that room, really helped out. They really kept us on track, always just kind of thinking of different options. It was a very collaborative effort. It was a great process.

RE: What the team's needs are going into the final day of the draft

Rhule: The great thing is we have five picks. I don't even think we are going to look at it as much need based as just, again, getting the best guys on the board. I think we still have guys that have second and third round ranked grades up for us on the board. I think we'll just continue to take the best player possible, within reason. We're not going to take something that we have too many of, Scott is going to manage that. I don't think it's any one position as much as it is just try to continue to assemble talent.

RE: If Rhule recalls the first time he met Jaycee Horn in person or saw him on film

Rhule: I don't remember the first time. I've watched him on tape, I met him when I was there. I was impressed with him at his pro day. He was very competitive, he knew what the best vertical jump was for a corner and he was trying to beat it. He knew what the best 40‐yard dash time was, he was trying to beat it. That competitiveness with yourself is something that I think is really important. I think the great, great, great athletes, they aren't always just competing with the guys across from them, they are competing against themselves and they never want to come in second to themselves. I was impressed with him then and then it was great to see him today, see his father today. He came in dressed to come make this a business. This was a business move for him to come here and help bring a championship here. It was great to see him, great to visit with him. His intensity you feel, I felt it off the tape, I felt it when I met him and yet again today I felt it. I think it is very genuine.

WR Terrace Marshall Jr.

RE: How big a part his relationship with offensive coordinator Joe Brady played in being drafted by the Panthers

I think our relationship played a big part in it. I just appreciate the Panthers organization for giving me a chance to come out there and show out. I promise they won't regret it. I'm just ready to get down there and get to work.

RE: If he had a hunch that Carolina could be a potential landing spot in the draft

Definitely, with all of the opportunities that were given in this draft, with all the availabilities and the spots, I definitely thought that the Panthers were going to be one of the teams that could pick me. I'm here now, and I'm just grateful to be a part of this organization.

RE: Who he is celebrating with on draft night

I'm with my family. We are in Houston, Texas.

RE: What makes him so good in the red zone

Just being a good football player, a good receiver. Getting open, finding the feel of the defense, getting in an open spot. That's just what separates me from the rest.

RE: His excitement level coming into an organization with quarterback Sam Darnold and wide receivers DJ Moore, David Moore and Robby Anderson

It's going to be great. I'm just happy to be a part of it. That organization that've gotten going, they've already started, so I'm just ready to come in and do what I've got to do. Play my role right.

RE: What it's going to be like playing for Joe Brady again

It's amazing playing with him. He breaks it down and makes everything easy for you. I just feel like it'll be an advantage for me. Going in and being able to learn everything quickly, as quickly as I can, and get to work. Just do what I have to do.

RE: What the potential can be on an offense with players like Sam Darnold, Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Robby Anderson

I just see me going out there and eating. Going out there and eating with whoever is on the side of me playing. I'm just looking forward to going to work hard and doing what I've got to do. I'm just looking forward to taking care of my business.

RE: How he was able to carve out a niche in an offense at LSU with so many other talented on offense

Just to keep grinding. At the end of the day, the cream will always rise to the top. So I just always did what I do and let God take care of the rest. I just go out there, do my thing and let the results speak for themselves.

RE: His response to teams regarding his medical history

Yeah, I definitely had injuries in the past, but my answer to them was always a truthful answer, I'm 100 percent healthy. I'm ready to go Day 1. There won't be any complications. That's that.

RE: His response to teams regarding his choice to opt‐out late in the 2020 season

That played a part in my injuries, but I took care of those injuries. I had a surgery back in January and I participated in the pro day. I Was 100 percent by pro day. I did everything and performed well at pro day, wasn't injured and now I'm here. I'm just ready to get to work.

RE: His surgery that took place in January

I had a knee surgery. I had a left scope surgery on my knee.

T Brady Christensen

RE: Being drafted and if it surprised him being selected by Carolina

Yeah, it was a little bit of a surprise to me to be honest. I wasn't sure where I was going to go, but when I got the call from the Panthers, I was just so excited. I'm married now, so my wife – it felt so good right off the bat. That was the place for us to be. I'm just ready to get there and do my best to be able to help the Panthers really reach the next level. I can't wait, I'm ecstatic.

RE: If he was told what position he will play

I played left tackle in college. They really didn't tell me what I was going to play. I'm versatile and I'm really just ready to come and help the team win. That's my goal. Wherever they want me and wherever I can best help the Panthers win, that's where I want to play.

RE: His skill set and fit with the Panthers offensive scheme

I think I'm an elite pass protector and I'll be able to pass protect at a high level. Also, the run game there is unbelievable and I'm excited to be able to run block. I feel like I have elite feet. I really can drive guys off the ball and I'm just really excited to contribute and be able to create holes and give time and really do those things. I know I can do a really good job at. I'm really excited and looking forward to it.

RE: If his skillset will allow him to play left tackle in the NFL

I think for sure I can play at a high level. I can play left tackle at a high level. I know I can. I proved it in college. I feel like those skills can definitely translate to playing left tackle in the NFL. With that being said, I feel like I can play all five and be very versatile. Like I said before, whatever the Panthers need, that's what I'm excited to go do and be able to play at a high level.

RE: His perspective on life and football following serving on a mission in New Zealand

I left as an 18 year‐old kid. I traveled overseas and I served in New Zealand. To leave family and friends behind, I really left as a kid and came home as a man. There are a lot of challenges out there, a lot of hardships. I think that'll translate over to the NFL as well. You have to be very mature to play this game at a high level and be able to handle adversity and going through hard things. I think that'll definitely help me in my career.

RE: Any questions that came up in the draft process regarding his age

I got some jokes about it. It was nothing too serious. But when it did come up, I really feel like I wouldn't be the prospect I am today as a 22‐year old without my mission. I really feel like it helped me mentally and physically out there. I was able to put on some good weight out in New Zealand and really be able to grow into my body. I was a late bloomer, so physically and mentally, I feel like I'm mature at this age. I feel like it's a positive thing rather than a negative.

RE: What his diet consisted of in New Zealand while on serving on his mission

Lots of Polynesian food out there. They cook amazing, lots of seafood. I ate so much seafood out there and grew to love it. The combination of both really helped me put on good weight out there.

RE: The conversations post draft with former BYU teammate Zach Wilson

I saw a mention from Zach and got a text from Zach. I'm not sure what he said yet, I haven't had time to look through my messages. I'm excited for him and I know he's excited for me too. It'll be fun to play each other.

RE: What makes him such a good pass protector

As a tackle, I feel like I have elite feet. When you have a wide‐nine speed rusher, I feel like I can really get to my spot. It's all about getting to the spot as a tackle and to be able to be in a position to win the block with balance, strength and leverage. I feel like that allows me to be in a really good position to win blocks pass protecting. I feel like I have great hands. Continue to work on my hands, get better on my hands to be able to keep defenders at bay. I really feel like I can do a great job in the pass protection.

TE Tommy Trimble

RE: His mentality regarding the blocking aspect of the tight end position and what he has to prove as an offensive player

The mentality that I have every time I step on the field is to try and be the most violent and versatile guy on the field. That's something that I've also got to prove, that I can do everything on the field. Not just a good blocking game or something like that. I'm not going to be put in just one box. That's the main thing that I want to prove at that next level, especially with the Panthers.

RE: Why he did not have more receptions at Notre Dame

I just followed whatever the coaches needed me to do. We had a successful season, we went all the way to the playoffs. Even though I wasn't getting receptions that I would either get in practice or have schemed up in the games, we still won games. It was nothing I ever complained about. I have no problem with that. I don't think at Notre Dame there was a problem with that. It was just what the coaches ended up calling in game time situations and I'm just ready whenever they call my name for that.

RE: If he feels he has to have the mindset to "go look for work in the blocking game" every game

Yes sir. I try to give my 100 percent every time I step on the field. I feel like being violent is part of that. I can't just give about 50 percent on any plays, I give everything I got. Like you said, It is a mindset stepping on the field every single time.

RE: If he needed the game of football to channel the violent mindset

Honestly, you'd be surprised. A lot of people think I'm kind of like a crazy guy or a violent guy off the field, but that's just something I've done my entire life. It's just how I am on the field so it's really funny when people ask me that kind of question.

RE: If he had any background with Panthers first‐round choice Jaycee Horn since they are both from Atlanta

He went to high school actually about fifteen minutes away from me. So, I knew him growing up.

RE: If he ever had to block Horn

I never blocked him but I did play against him in high school.

RE: His experience being the son of a former NFL player

It was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It was something and someone I could always look up to my entire life. Having that in front of me and giving me a dream to chase really put me in the position that I'm in right now.

RE: His interactions with the Panthers in the pre‐draft process

I had a lot of conversation with our coach, Coach A [Brian Angelichio], our tight end coach here. It was really something that I felt I had a special connection with. He was a really good guy in interviews and just on phone calls, total. I'm just really glad I was able to be picked up by the Panthers. This is my favorite team out of the draft.

RE: Why the Panthers were his favorite team in the entire draft

It's close to home, it's got everything I want, and it's a team on the rise. I can't wait.

RE: What he brings to the team

I think I bring everything to a team. Whatever they need me to do, whether it's block inline, play out of the slot, play fullback, play on all special teams. Anything they need me to do I can do it all. That's something I feel like I can really bring to a team, is everything that they want.

RE: What this night was like waiting to hear his name called

Everyone is kind of sitting in their chairs sweating, waiting for their name to get picked, but the second it was called that all went behind me. It was the greatest thing ever.

RE: The feeling of coming to Charlotte and playing for the Carolina Panthers

It sounds awesome, I can't wait. It's only three hours away from my place now. That was actually one of my first NFL games that I ever went to. It was against the Seahawks and Carolina. I remember that game like it was yesterday. I thought it was crazy. I thought that stadium was insane the way it was built. To be able to play in there, that's just a dream come true.

RE: The most important thing he wants people to know about him

I am a guy that will give my all for this team. No matter what they need, I am giving everything I got. They don't have to worry about any of that, character issues, anything like that. I'm giving everything I can for this team.

RE: The reason for attending the Seattle‐Carolina game

My dad's friend was actually a d‐line coach there, Travis Jones. He was actually with Seattle, but going to the Panthers game, I remember seeing everyone there. I remember seeing Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey, I thought that was the craziest thing. That was one of the craziest games I ever went to personally, because that is when my entire family went with me. It was a whole family trip. It was the first time we all went to a game together.

RE: If he can beat his sister in a foot race

Now I can. I used to not be able to for a long time but the day I did that was one of the best days of my life, top three.

RE: Memories of former Panthers' tight ends like Greg Olsen

I remember seeing all those guys, especially in that stadium. Greg Olsen, I remember watching him and what he did in that stadium. Seeing a guy be such a pivotal part of the offense, that makes me really excited, because I know to this day that is something that they crave to use is tight ends. I feel like I can really help accelerate that position use.

Related Content