The Carolina Panthers plucked David Gettis (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) in the sixth round of the NFL Draft. The speedy receiver comes off a four-year career at Baylor in which he caught 116 balls for 1,555 yards and four touchdowns.
Gettis is one of three receivers drafted by the Panthers this year, joining third-round picks Brandon LaFell (LSU) and Armanti Edwards (Appalachian State). The rookie trio will bring up the back end of a revamped receiving corps that is led by veterans Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett.
How much is Gettis ready to contribute this season? And where must he improve in order to leapfrog the receivers drafted ahead of him? To find out, we talk with Baylor wide receivers coach Dino Babers.
LaShana Marshburn: Tell us about your experience coaching David.
WR David Gettis
LM: Your program at Baylor sent two receivers to the NFL this year, David and Ernest Smith. What is it about your program that prepared these receivers to make that leap?
DB: A lot of what got David to the NFL was God-given ability. David has a lot of gifts. He was the three-time champion of the State of California for the quarter-mile. If I'm not mistaken, he's the only one who has ever done that. He possesses great speed and endurance. He's a tall receiver, an excellent basketball player with quick hops, so he has got a lot of God-given abilities. When you tie that in with his work ethic, there was no question he would get drafted.
LM: Is there one moment from David's time at Baylor that stands out to you?
DB: I thought some of his best catches at home came in the back of the end zone. We were playing one home game and the ball was thrown 8 to 9 yards deep in the zone. He was running a go-route and he accelerated with that speed I was talking about. He caught the ball and found a way to get one foot in. Now, he knew once he caught the ball he was going to slide on cement and get scarred up pretty good. But he went ahead and focused on the catch and then went onto the cement part of the stadium, which is not covered up, and got scratched up, cut up and bloody.
LM: How do you see David handling the transition from college to the NFL?
DB: I don't think he will have a big problem. You have to remember, he's a champion in the quarter-mile. He's already been to several different countries for track. He's been treated as an elite athlete in his high school years, so him going up there and seeing some of those "super freak" guys in the NFL is just going to seem like the caliber of people he is used to seeing.
LM: You seem to believe David is NFL-ready. Is there any aspect of his game you feel still needs improvement?
DB: Well, I think he has certain attributes that are almost NFL-like. He's an excellent blocker. I think he catches the ball very well for a track guy. With speed guys, a lot of the time you have to come in and teach them how to catch. I don't think that's the issue with David Gettis. He catches the ball with his hands. I think he is an excellent route runner. I think he had a lot of press techniques here in college that will carry over into the NFL.
I think the big thing for David is getting used to the speed of the secondary and the speed of the people around him. He's used to being the fastest kid on the field and I would imagine there are some guys up there that are just as fast as him. He'll have to get used to the speed of the game and once he gets used to that he'll be fine.
How much will Gettis contribute this season? Discuss inside the message boards.