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Panthers trade up to draft CB Worley in third round

CHARLOTTE - West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley said he fell in love with the Carolina Panthers in the pre-draft process.

Apparently the feeling was mutual.

The Panthers gave up their fourth-round pick to Cleveland and swapped picks in the third and fifth rounds with the Browns, the ultimate goal being to move up 16 spots in the third round and select Worley.

"There was no other team in the NFL that I wanted to be with besides the Carolina Panthers. That's all I kept telling my agent and my family," Worley said. "That's a team I want to be a part of – a team that's not just a team but off the field they're a family and they love each other. It's very genuine.

"So for this to come to fruition, it's a blessing."

It came to fruition when general manager Dave Gettleman opted to trade up for the third consecutive draft, this time to grab a second cornerback with a second-round grade in short order.

With the 62nd overall pick in the second round, the Panthers selected Samford cornerback James Bradberry. Then, rather than taking a chance and waiting until their third-round choice at No. 93, the Panthers traded that pick and their fourth-rounder (No. 129) for Cleveland's third-rounder at No. 77. The teams also swapped their fifth-rounders, with Carolina moving up from 168th to 141st in the process.

In addition to pick No. 141, the Panthers hold a seventh-rounder (No. 252) for the final day of the draft Saturday.

"We just wanted to make sure we got him. You don't know," Gettleman said. "You have to make a value judgement on when to make the move. If you feel like you really want the guy and the value is there, why not do the trade? It's about securing the best players that make you a better team."

Gettleman admitted that the departure of All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman impacted Carolina's approach to the draft, saying it was important to prevent a "position disaster." He believes Worley and Bradberry will allow Carolina to do just that.

"I feel like we got very good value for what we gave up," Gettleman said.

Worley, a 6-1, 202-pounder, passed on his senior year to turn pro after ranking in seventh in the nation in interceptions with six and eighth in passes defensed per game with a total of 18.

In three seasons, he picked off 10 passes and broke up 21.

"(Carolina) led the NFL with 24 interceptions. Well, that's the thing I love to do, turn the ball over and get it back to my offense," Worley said. "It's being aggressive and attacking rather than just sitting on your heels and scheming teams. That's the style of defense I want to be a part of."

View photos of the Panthers' third-round draft pick, West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley.

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