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Panthers keep wheeling and dealing on final day of draft

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Riverboat Ron meet Dealing Dave of the suddenly wheeling-and-dealing Carolina Panthers.

General manager Dave Gettleman traded away multiple picks Saturday for the second straight day, moving up 22 spots in the fourth round to take offensive tackle Daryl Williams from Oklahoma with the 102nd pick overall.

Gettleman is not known for being a GM who likes to trade up, but he gave up the team's fourth round (124th), fifth round (161st) and seventh round (242nd) picks to land a tackle he felt "was too good to pass up."

"He's powerful," Gettleman said of the 6-foot-3, 329-pound Williams. "He's got good enough athletic ability, and is a long-armed kid with big gloves. He's exactly what we're looking for."

Gettleman also traded away three picks on Friday night to climb 16 spots in the second round to land wide receiver Devin Funchess from Michigan.

"We don't second-guess ourselves," Gettleman said of the trades.

The Panthers began the draft with nine picks, but came away with only five players.

They selected Texas State linebacker David Mayo and Auburn running back Cameron Artis-Payne, the SEC's leading rusher last season, on Saturday with their two compensatory selections in the fifth round.

Carolina's first-round pick was Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson.

Gettleman said quality was more important than quantity.

He said it would have been very difficult for nine rookies to make the 53-man roster with the team coming off back-to-back NFC South championships.

Williams gives the Panthers the offensive tackle they have been trying to land since Jordan Gross' retirement and provides added protection for fifth-year quarterback Cam Newton, who spent much of last season under duress in the pocket.

Williams started 34 of 35 career games at right tackle for Oklahoma.

However, Panthers coach Ron Rivera, who earned the Riverboat Ron moniker for his tendency to go for it on fourth downs, said Williams brings "positional flexibility" and can play both tackle spots.

Carolina signed free agent Michael Oher to compete at the left tackle spot and return Mike Remmers at right tackle.

But it's clear that right tackle spot is up for grabs.

"We've spoken to Mike Remmers and he's walking out there as the right tackle starter (at OTAs) — but he's going to have to compete," Gettleman said.

Rivera described Williams as "large" and said "for what we want to do and how we want to run the football, he'll work out nicely."

Williams said he's excited that the Panthers displayed so much faith in him to trade away three picks to land him.

He plans to reward them with his intense style of play.

"I'm nasty," Williams said. "I'm a road grader and I'm technically sound, so hopefully my assets can help the Panthers."

Gettleman couldn't trade the team's two fifth-round selections as they were compensatory picks awarded to them by the NFL.

Rivera called the 6-foot-2, 228-pound Mayo a "knockback tackler," who is expected to backup Luke Kuechly at middle linebacker and see action on special teams. Like Kuechly, Mayo had gaudy tackle numbers in college with 154 last year to go along with three forced fumbles.

"I'm so fortunate to go to a place like this where I can learn from a player like Luke," Mayo said. "I know he will set the tone and set the right example for me."

The 25-year-old Artis-Payne played junior college due to academic issues and sat out of football for two years working odd jobs. He said he eventually learned how important it was to have an education, ultimately enrolling at Auburn and running for an SEC-best 123.7 yards per game last season.

Rivera called Artis-Payne, a first-team All-SEC selection, a between-the-tackles runner who can slash to the outside.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Artis-Payne has a similar build to Carolina's starting running back Jonathan Stewart.

He also plays a lot like him, Rivera said.

"He is a bowling ball," Rivera said. "You watch him go inside the piles and really move people. He has great leverage. He will have a chance to come in and take some of the carries off Jonathan."

Artis-Payne was the 15th running back selected in the draft, which leaves him out to prove a lot of people were wrong about him.

"I always have a chip on my shoulder just from being who I am and how hard I worked to get here," Artis-Payne said. "I don't think there are many people who have the drive I do to be great."



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