Panthers draft G Turner in third round

CHARLOTTE – It took until round three before general manager Dave Gettleman found his latest hog molly.

Carolina selected Louisiana State guard Trai Turner with the 92nd pick in the draft.

"He's a hog molly," Gettleman said. "He gives us the power that we are looking for. He can displace defensive linemen. He's a tough, nasty kid and he plays that way. He pulls well enough for us. We're very pleased to get him."

The 6-foot-3, 310-pound guard made his name in the Southeastern Conference as a mauler in the run game, and he's thrilled to join an NFL team that places a heavy emphasis on running the football.

"Without a doubt. That's my thing," Turner said on a conference call. "I love to run downhill. I love to attack the three-techniques and nose tackles and be able to double-team and get to linebackers."

Head coach Ron Rivera lauded Turner's ability to be a physical force in the run game.

"What I like about Trai is his nastiness, his finish," Rivera said. "He has an edge to him."

Turner also has some surprising speed in his repertoire. He ran a 4.93 40-yard dash – the top mark for guards at the scouting combine.

"I've always been pretty quick, pretty fast. I knew that could set me apart from other guards," Turner said.  

That mobility will serve him well in Carolina's offense – an offense that's similar to the one he played in for the Tigers.

"We run power as one of our main running plays and then we run the zone and (the guards) have to get to the second level," Rivera said. "I like his ability to get to the second level, and he's pretty good in space.

"And at LSU, his system was very similar to what we do. A lot of the calls and protections are the same. Our running plays are the same. That would make the transition easier."

The addition of Turner also helps the Panthers alleviate some concerns up front, with guards Amini Silatolu and Edmund Kugbila recovering from season-ending knee injuries.

"I'd be a liar to say it wasn't a factor," Gettleman said. "You've got to protect yourself."

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