Panthers GM: Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette 'both fit' our offense
The Panthers appear to be in the market for a running back
The Panthers, a run-first team with arguably the best running quarterback in the league, have a void to fill at running back with Jonathan Stewart hitting the dreaded age of 30. So, it's a good thing then that they own the eighth pick in next week's draft. And by the sound of it, they're definitely interested in using that pick on a new running back.
"They fit ... Christian has a different style from Leonard, there's no doubt about it," Gettleman said, per NFL.com. "Completely different style. And by the way, Leonard has really good hands, he catches the rock now. But that's part of the process that you're in. When you're in the draft room, when we sit there with the coaches, we talk about fit. Does this guy really fit what we want to do? So we're not afraid to ask that question, we're not afraid to move guys around the board based on the answer to that question. So, I mean, they both fit with different styles."
That isn't surprising, because Fournette and McCaffrey are two of the best running back prospects in this year's draft. If a team can't find a way to use them, that team might want to re-think their offensive strategy.
At LSU, Fournette averaged 6.5 yards per carry in each of the past two seasons. At Stanford, McCaffrey served as a dual-threat back, averaging 2,288.5 yards from scrimmage in each of the past two seasons. The point being, they're both damn good backs that will find a way to be useful at the next level.
For what it's worth, CBS Sports' R.J. White completed his seven-round mock draft on Friday and in that extensive mock draft, he has the Panthers taking McCaffrey. Here's what White wrote:
The running game has been critical to the Panthers' success on offense, and with Jonathan Stewart now 30 years old and seemingly incapable of playing 16 games, it's time to bring in a young, versatile back who can take over as the lead of a committee and help keep pressure off Cam Newton. McCaffrey doesn't look like an every-down back, but he should be able to handle 16-20 touches per came and be a critical weapon on third downs.
But it's worth noting that McCaffrey's durability doesn't concern Gettleman. It certainly sounds like Gettelman envisions McCaffrey as an every down back.
"The last two years he's rushed the ball for 650 and he's caught another 90 balls," he said. "So that right there -- he can run it, he can catch it -- I guess that's three downs ... He's certainly shown he can carry the load at Stanford."
If that doesn't qualify as an official endorsement, I'm not sure what does. With that being said, it is draft season, which means Gettleman could just be doing his best to mislead every other team.
Thankfully, we'll find out in less than a week.
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