Biggest Fear Was Losing Kelvin Benjamin
The first thing general manager Dave Gettleman talked about was the fear of the Carolina Panthers losing wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. This fear obviously came to fruition when Benjamin suffered an ACL tear in training camp and was lost for the season.
The Panthers' though didn't miss a beat and finished the season as the highest scoring offense and a trip to Super Bowl 50. Gettleman said that the fear of losing Benjamin was one of the reasons that the team traded up in the NFL Draft last year to select wide receiver Devin Funchess.
The good news from today though was that Gettleman said that Benjamin had been "working his fanny off" and has kept his weight at 238 pounds. He also said that he should be ready to go by training camp.
Happy With the Running Backs
The Panthers' general manager talked about how he was happy with the team's current group of running backs. It appears that there won't be many changes, if any, to this group heading into next season.
He mentioned how Jonathan Stewart did miss three games at the end of the regular season but spoke highly of Cameron Artis-Payne and how he performed in Stewart's absence from his ability to pick up the blitz to his pass catching skills.
It was certainly interesting to hear him mention Brandon Wegher, who was inactive for all but one game this season. He is a player who could see an expanded role next year with a strong offseason and training camp.
Excited About Defensive Ends
There are certainly going to be some changes at defensive end with the retirement of Jared Allen and the potential of Charles Johnson being cut, which certainly appears to be a real possibility. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that the team will be on the market for defensive ends this offseason.
The strong finish by Kony Ealy is a big positive but Gettleman mentioned two pass rushers in particular that he is excited about: Arthur Miley and Rakim Cox. Both of these two players were on the Panthers' team during training camp and played well in the preseason games for the Panthers. However, they were cut prior to the start of the season but remained connected with the organization. Miley was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and Cox had a spot on the practice squad.
It certainly sounds like Gettleman has a great deal of confidence in them and this position may not be as big of a priority as first thought.
To listen to his full press conference from the NFL Combine, click here.