Carolina Panthers GM talks NFL Draft, 2017 schedule - | WBTV Charlotte

Carolina Panthers GM talks NFL Draft, 2017 schedule

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Carolina Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman says the team is ready for next week's NFL Draft, but Gettleman is not sharing his cards on who the next Panther will be.

"In my position, I have to think short and long term. I have to. I am walking that tight rope," Gettleman said. 

This year, the Panthers have the eighth pick in the draft and many believe the team will select a running back.

"I have heard that, you know, the NFL has devalued running backs," Gettleman said. "I just gave you the speech, you got to run the ball to win in this league. You are not going to win if you can't run the rock, plain and simple." 

A lot of attention has been given to Leonard Fournette out of Louisiana State University and Christian McCaffrey out of Stanford.

"Leonard is a big power back. His skill set it hard to match," Assistant General Manager Brandon Beane said. 

Fans are still recovering after the teams losing season this past year, but excitement is high for the draft and the moves made during the off season, including signing Kawann Short to a five-year deal.

"If you are going to sign off on a $80 million dollar deal - you better feel good about it," Gettleman said.

The NFL schedule was released Thursday night and the Panthers will once again open in the West. 

PREVIOUS: Panthers’ 2017 schedule: 5 things to know, including how Ron Rivera helped the Falcons

"The only home opener that Ron has had here was my first year here with Seattle. It is kind of weird," Gettleman said. "I have no feelings about it. There are 16 games you got to play them somehow, someway, somewhere."

The stadium continues its renovations and the field is being torn up and rebuilt.

"I think that it is big. I think making sure the stadium is renovated and up-to-date makes sure the fans keep coming out to support the team," said Felipe Fulgencio, a Panthers fan.

The Panthers will have their first home game September 17 against the Buffalo Bills.

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