CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Who needs a war room?
Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman didn't on Saturday, the third day of the NFL draft. He helped make the team's final three picks from a hotel room in Massachusetts, where he was attending his son's college graduation.
He even remotely talked through a trade that sent Carolina's fifth- and seventh-round picks to Minnesota in order to move up 20 spots and select San Jose State cornerback Bene' Benwikere with the 148th pick.
All thanks to the wonderful world of Skype.
"It works, I'm telling you," Gettleman said by phone after Carolina's final pick. "It works. They got to see my handsome face and I got to see theirs. The process was really the same. It really was.
"You always want to think optimistically and just hope that it's going to work electronically. There were times where it was a little choppy in terms of the video."
Fortunately, Rob Rogers, the director of team administration, suggested Gettleman take an IT guy with him. At 63, Gettleman is the first to admit he's not the most technologically savvy.
"It worked fine, it really did," Gettleman said.
And there was no guilt.
As I wrote earlier in the day, Gettleman will have other drafts. He had only one chance to see his son Sam get his diploma at Becker College, and it was the right move to be there.
"This is a life event and I never would have done this if it was just, 'I don't feel like coming in Saturday, so I'm going to go visit my family,' " Gettleman said. "This was one of those things that I believed I needed to do and it worked out fine. It really did."
Everything worked like clockwork. Graduation began on time at 11 a.m. and was over by noon. John Credit, the team's director of information technology, picked Gettleman up and had him at a hotel by 12:15 p.m.
When the Panthers made their first pick of the day around 1:30 p.m. Gettleman was ready.
"Brandon Beane really did a great job handling the room today, standing in there and organizing everything," Gettleman said of his director of football operations. "He was tremendous. We talked about everything, and again there was no difference. I was just in a different place physically.
"The trade was fine. We discussed it at length and realized it was a great move. In fact, I had a GM from another team text me after we did it and say, ‘Wow that was a great move.' "