CHARLOTTE – “Football,” Panthers owners David Tepper said before a quick pause. “Football is freaking fantastic!”
Tepper’s words were in response to a question about why people so love the NFL Draft, as evidenced by the fans that flowed into Bank of America Stadium for the 2019 NFL Draft Party, presented by Bud Light.
Moments before the 2019 NFL Draft commenced in Nashville, Tepper and Panthers players DJ Moore and Donte Jackson addressed the crowd that gathered to watch opening night play out on the stadium’s massive video boards.
This time last year, it was all about potential for the trio. Tepper was still a few weeks away from being approved as the Panthers’ new owner, and Moore and Jackson were waiting to see what their draft held for them.
Now, they’re all on the same page in terms of Carolina’s potential.
“The Super Bowl. There’s one game that matters. You want to get to that game and win that game,” Tepper said as the crowd echoed his sentiment. “Anything is possible. We’re going to try to make it more possible tonight.”
The Panthers added to their potential this time last year by making Moore the first wide receiver selected in the 2018 draft, taking him with the 24th overall pick.
“I didn’t go (to the draft) because I wasn’t invited,” Moore said, reminiscing about his special night. “I turned it into a family thing and into a Philly thing.”
Jackson, a cornerback taken by Carolina on the second night of the draft - in the second round - said he was “very relieved” when he got the call from Carolina.
“I had visited here about a week before the draft,” Jackson said, “and I loved it.”
The love affair with last year’s top two picks and with the team’s owner was on full display Thursday, as fans crowded around the stage to hear from the trio before settling into the draft.
Jackson said he’d like to see Carolina select a defensive end at No. 16, “someone who can help me get interceptions and help us get to the Super Bowl.” Moore too mentioned adding a defensive player to help keep points off the board.
As for Tepper? He expressed interest in a player along either line of scrimmage before heading to the Panthers war room to see how the first pick of his first draft would turn out.
Photos from the Panthers Draft Party, sponsored by Bud Light, from Bank of America Stadium on the night of the first round of the NFL Draft. Owner David Tepper, along with players Donte Jackson and DJ Moore, spoke with Mick Mixon and Kevin Donnalley.