Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 5/8/13
Last offseason the Carolina Panthers stole the best defensive player in the draft with the 9th overall pick. The defensive Rookie of the Year, Luke Kuechly, led the entire league in tackles with 164 and immediately emerged as Carolina’s franchise player on the other side of the ball. Although the 7-9 Panthers and new GM Dave Gettleman only had five total picks in the draft, they grabbed three support characters that will help contribute to a playoff-caliber defense for years to come. 14th overall: Star Lotulelei (DT, Utah) Photo Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE Describing a guy as a “plug” to begin with is somewhat ridiculous, but in this case it’s an understatement. The 6-2 311-pounder had the potential to go first overall if it weren’t for a heart scare heading into the combine. Luckily, it was just a scare and Star was given a clean bill of health. Of course he was still seen as a risk, and consequently fell into the Panthers lap at the 14 spot. Jackpot. The nose tackle prospect is extremely athletic and will be lethal up the middle for his entire career. Despite fighting through double-teams and triple-teams throughout his senior year, Star was still able to display his prowess with 42 tackles, 11 for loss, and five sacks. If all goes as planned he will be able to disrupt and stuff the run game (Were 14th against the rush), pressure the quarterback (13th against the pass), and help fellow linemen Dwan Edwards, Charles Johnson, and Greg Hardy (three combined for 29.5 sacks, 9th in total sacks) become one of the most feared lines in the league. 44th overall: Kawann Short (DT, Purdue) Photo Credit: AP Photo A lot of people, including myself, thought they could have went with a wide receiver here, but instead they snagged another talented defensive tackle to provide depth, and more importantly a future scary DT-duo. Short measures in at 6-3 and 300 lbs. and will provide great energy and security behind Lotulelei and Edwards. Short might even be a better pass rusher than Star as he finished with seven sacks last season while facing double-teams. Short will be effective rotating in with Edwards and if all goes right will take over the position in the near future; Edwards turns 32 this month and only signed a one-year contract last March. 148th overall: A.J. Klein (LB, Iowa State) Photo Credit: Huiling Wu/ Iowa State Daily Klein is one of those guys who gets in on every play. In his past three seasons as a Cyclone he finished with 111, 116, and 117 tackles. Klein emerged as the leader of the defense, and he proved to be a hard worker each season, which is exactly the kind of guy you want.  Now Klein is put in a great position to get in on downs as a backup, and learn from three effective linebackers in Jon Beason, Luke Kuechly, and Thomas Davis. It’s possible that Klein can get some quality time with Beason and Davis both extremely injury-prone.  Healthy or hurt if Klein can take away something from each of these linebackers he can turn into a valuable linebacker and fight for tackles amongst that intimidating core. -Schotz
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jose Altuve: ‘I literally love Justin Verlander’

Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for contact with official

Chris Paul could miss a month with knee injury

WATCH: LeBron rejects Giannis at the rim with big block

15 key questions for NFL Week 7

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vin Scully will not make appearance during World Series

Leonard Fournette still not practicing ahead of Week 7

Dusty Baker calls Nationals dismissal ‘hard to understand’

Draymond Green feels ‘big relief’ that knee injury was minor

Bradford ruled out of Week 7, expected to play again in 2017

NFL on Ezekiel Elliott: ‘We’re not looking to make a deal’

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Panthers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker