Why Panthers used their first two picks on similar players

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Now that we're five years into the Dave Gettleman regime, it should be pretty clear the Panthers general manager doesn't go out of his way to throw up smokescreens. 

Actually, he usually takes the opposite approach. 

But because the internet age has turned listening and analyzing into overrated exercises, it's easy to miss the hints Gettleman drops ahead of the draft. 

Take, for example, what he said just two minutes into last week's pre-draft press conference: 

"To a certain degree, we are a function of the college game. … Because there's so much spread, the colleges are developing versatile players. It's not the standard he's this, he's this or he's this. There's a number of those guys (in this draft) that are really interesting."

So while you could argue using a second-round pick on receiver/running back Curtis Samuel a day after taking running back/receiver Christian McCaffrey was redundant, it shouldn't be all that surprising considering Gettleman's foreshadowing. And for the Panthers, an organization that has long tried to run the ball down opponents' throats, it's an attempt at being near the forefront of a coming wave. 

"This league is turning into a league where playmakers and mismatches are huge," McCaffrey said Friday at his introductory press conference. "And I believe I can be a mismatch in a lot of different places." 

Which is obviously the similar hope for Samuel, a 4.31 speedster who will give the Panthers even more weapons to fit their offense around instead of waiting for players coming from spread systems to fit into a more traditional NFL offense. 

Sure, the Panthers could have invested elsewhere as guys like Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis and Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu were available at No. 40. But more so than anything involving Cam Newton's future as a runner, McCaffrey and Samuel signal the biggest change coming to Carolina's offense.

"It's definitely going to be a great offense," Samuel said shortly after he became the newest Panther. "I've seen what (McCaffrey) can do. He's a terrific player, a great player. He can line up in the slot sometimes, too.

"We do some similar things, but I think we can complement each other well."

View photos of the Carolina Panthers' 2017 second-round draft pick Curtis Samuel.


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