East Chicago, Purdue grad Kawann Short happy with fit in Carolina
By LaMond Pope email@example.com/@lamondpope April 26, 2013 10:28PM
Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short during the Heart of Dallas Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)
Updated: May 29, 2013 7:54AM
The Carolina Panthers were the first team Kawann Short visited as he went through the process leading up to the NFL draft.
The Panthers must have liked what they saw from the defensive tackle.
Carolina selected the East Chicago Central and Purdue graduate in the second round with the 44th overall pick of the NFL draft on Friday.
“It’s a dream come true,” Short told reporters in an interview posted on the Carolina website. “It’s an honor to go back to the city. Visiting, I loved it from Day 1. And the coaching staff is unbelievable. And the group of guys I’m going to be around, it’s going to be a great time.”
Short earned 2012 Associated Press second-team All-America honors last season.
“Kawann is a legitimate three-down defensive tackle,” Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman said on Panthers.com. “He plays the run well. He can play both techniques well. He’s the most natural pass rusher of all the defensive tackles in the draft. He was at the top of our board. We worked him out, we brought him in, spent time with him.
“We feel really good about this pick. It gives us a tremendous defensive line rotation.”
The two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection finished eighth on Purdue’s career sacks (191/2) and tackles for loss (49.0) lists.
“It’s natural for him. He’s very instinctive about what he’s doing, the way he uses his hands. He has great hips,” Gettleman said. “The key to being a great pass rusher is being able to get hip to hip to that offensive lineman as quickly as possible. He’s got that skill. And it’s easy for him. When I first started doing the film study, I’m just shaking my head. You are almost shocked by it.”
Short is ready to help out any way he can.
“I’m not the one defensive tackle that you can say ‘he’s a run-stopper or he’s just a pass rusher.’ I can do both,” he said. “Once I get in that rhythm, it’s non-stop. I have the ability to use different types of moves to make it in the backfield and cause disruption.”
Short got a great vibe when he visited the team.
“When I first met those guys, It felt like ‘man, I belong here,’” he said. “I feel like I can do a lot of things with this organization.
“… It’s a great city, first and foremost. Just to play football for Carolina would be a blessing.”
Short is the ninth defensive lineman from Purdue drafted in the last 10 years and the third defensive tackle in the past five years. He is the 25th Purdue player selected in the second round. It’s the 16th consecutive year at least one Purdue player has been chosen in the draft.
“I ended up where I would love to be,” Short said.