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Panthers wrap up busy second day with players, value

Scott Fitterer and Matt Rhule

CHARLOTTE — As it turns out, Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer is a man of his word.

"In on every deal" means in on every deal.

The Panthers made four of them Friday, during a dizzying day that saw them add three players and a lot of value.

They started the evening with a second-rounder (39th overall) and a third-round pick (73rd).

Through a series of quickly conducted trades (and there were plenty more they discussed but didn't make), they ended up with the following:

— Three players, in LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr., BYU tackle Brady Christensen, and Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble, who add needed young talent to the offense.

— Five more picks coming Saturday, with a fourth-rounder (109th), a fifth (158th), and three sixths (193rd, 204th, and 222nd).

— A 2022 fourth-round pick, which originally belonged to the Rams, in the late deal with the Texans.

That left Panthers head coach Matt Rhule describing the job Fitterer did as "masterful."

Rhule cited last month's deal for quarterback Sam Darnold, in which the team gave up a 2021 sixth-rounder, along with second- and fourth-rounders next year. Considering the extra guy they took Friday and that 2022 fourth-rounder, they see that deal as covered.

"We came into the day thinking we were going to get two players and we got three, and we picked up a four next year, so basically the Sam Darnold trade is paid off now," Rhule said. "So we got three players we really liked, but we've also paid off that trade.

"And the biggest thing to me was three guys instead of two, and that's what we wanted."

With five more picks Saturday, they have the chance to add more talent and not be pinned into needing particular positions. While all three of Friday's picks checked important boxes, Rhule referred to all three as having "elite athleticism." He cited Christensen's 10-foot, 4-inch broad jump, 34-inch vertical and 4.89-second 40-yard dash at 302 pounds as evidence of the kind of physical traits they were looking for.

So while the picks and the value are nice, the players are what make the difference here.

"I think we just wanted to put ourselves in position where we could move down, and put ourselves in position where we had players in clumps on our board that we valued, and that's what we did," Fitterer said. "We just listened to the different offers, we were on the phone non-stop, trying to move up, move down, and just really big-picture wise, to get players we had conviction on."

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