CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Now we know why Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman smiled Thursday when asked if he would take more than one cornerback on the second day of the NFL draft.
That's because he had his eye on two.
He took two with Samford's James Bradberry in the second round and West Virginia's Daryl Worley in the third after a trade with the Cleveland Browns. He had second-round grades on both even though both were projected as Day 3 picks.
My take: Gettleman admitted the loss of 2015 Pro Bowl corner Josh Norman, now with the Washington Redskins, changed the focus of Carolina's draft strategy on Day 2. But because the rest of the roster was in such good shape, Gettleman had the luxury of focusing on corner. He liked Worley enough to swap third- and fifth-round picks with Cleveland and give up a fourth-round pick to move from No. 92 to 77. Like Bradberry (6-1, 213), who was selected in the second round, Worley is a big cornerback at 6-1, 202. Big corners are a part of Gettleman's philosophy. Worley didn't feel like as much of a reach as Bradberry did, even with the trade. What I like about Worley is he played against big-time competition. He had six interceptions and 12 passes broken up this past year. Hard to argue he didn't earn the right to go here, although few rankings had him here.
Legal issue: In 2014, Worley reportedly turned himself in after an arrest warrant was issued charging him with battery following an altercation with a woman outside a nightclub. He ultimately pleaded no contest; the charges were dropped and expunged from his record. Worley said he provided a surveillance tape of the incident that happened outside a bar to all 32 teams. He said it corroborated his story that he was breaking up a fight between another girl and his girlfriend. Gettleman said Worley was put through the ringers during his visit to Charlotte. This included a visit with team owner Jerry Richardson. The team wanted to make sure there were no issues after dealing with the domestic violence charges against defensive end Greg Hardy in 2014. To be clear, Worley never was charged with domestic violence. Gettleman said the entire staff was satisfied with what the tapes and follow up reports showed. "Do you guys think for one moment, after what happened in 2014, I'm going to do something stupid?" Gettleman said. "I mean, c'mon. We've all made mistakes as kids. Every one of us sitting here and standing here has done something stupid or been involved in a situation that we hope people don't find out about. He's a good kid, and we're very comfortable with everything."
He's 21: Worley was born on Feb. 22, 1995, which makes him 21. But there were rumors he might have been older. "I don't know where the rumors of me being older came from. I just turned 21 two months ago," Worley said. Worley said the discrepancy popped up sometime around the NFL combine. "I don't know where it came from," he said. "My birthday was actually four days before the combine, so I was actually clueless about that."
What's next: The Panthers have two picks left, Cleveland's in the fifth round and their pick at 252 in the seventh. They traded their sixth-round pick to Chicago this past season in exchange for defensive end Jared Allen. Look for Carolina to focus on the offensive line and safety.