Panthers focus on replacing Josh Norman by drafting three cornerbacks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A wrap-up of the Carolina Panthers' draft:

Best move: I could be cute and say not selecting a cornerback with all five of their draft picks in hopes of finding a replacement for Pro Bowl corner Josh Norman. But I'll go with not moving out of the first round when seven teams called offering trades. The Panthers were patient at No. 30 and got a defensive tackle, Louisiana Tech's Vernon Butler, they coveted. Adding Butler to the rotation with Star Lotulelei and 2015 Pro Bowl selection Kawann Short makes the middle of this line one of the best -- if not the best -- in the NFL. Butler also gives general manager Dave Gettleman flexibility in the future should he not be able to sign Lotulelei or Short to a long-term deal.

Riskiest move: Trading up to select cornerback Daryl Worley in the third round left the Panthers open to questions about the West Virginia product's 2014 arrest on battery charges. Worley ultimately pleaded no contest and the charges were dropped, but a part of Carolina's formula has been building a roster based on high-character players. This isn't to question Worley's character. The Panthers investigated the situation thoroughly and felt he simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time. You just wonder if it was necessary to open themselves to questions.

Most surprising move: Carolina had a second-round grade on Samford cornerback James Bradberry when they selected him at No. 62, but most of the so-called experts had Bradberry as a fourth- or fifth-round pick. He wasn't rated in the top 250 players by Pro Football Focus. Bradberry was as surprised as anybody he went that high, as he was busy fixing his mom's toilet when the call came. There were other corners on the board at the time, but Gettleman isn't swayed by how others rank players. He rates players that fit Carolina's system. Bradberry, at 6-foot-1 and 213 pounds, seems to fit the system. He still probably could have been had a round or two later.

File it away: Of the three cornerbacks Carolina selected, fifth-round pick Zack Sanchez reminds me the most of Norman in terms of confidence. Norman was pretty cocky coming out of Coastal Carolina in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. Sanchez sounded a lot like Norman when he recently said he was the "best playmaker in the draft." Carolina needs players like that to replace the swagger Norman brought to the secondary. Remember that Norman started 12 games as a rookie.

Thumbs up: This class was all about filling the hole left by Norman. It began in the first round with a huge defensive tackle (Butler) to create havoc on quarterbacks and take pressure off the secondary. It continued with cornerbacks Bradberry, Worley and Sanchez in the second, third and fifth rounds, respectively. The key here is Carolina has a philosophy and stuck with it. It filled needs with players that had the necessary skill sets. The formula got the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, so it's hard to argue with it. -- David Newton