Panthers look to get physical

AP / File
The Panthers believe Oregon tailback Jonathan Stewart gives them a bruising running back to bolster the offense.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- The Carolina Panthers believe returning to a physical, power running style will get them back to the playoffs. General manager Marty Hurney and coach John Fox mortgaged the future in hopes of quickly reaching that goal.


The Panthers selected Oregon back Jonathan Stewart with the 13th overall pick in Saturday's draft, then they pulled off a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to get the 19th pick, where they took Pittsburgh tackle Jeff Otah.

The move gives Carolina two physical players and bolsters an offense that ranked 29th out of 32 teams last season.

But the pair came at a price. The Panthers gave up next year's first-round pick to the Eagles, along with second- and fourth-round choices this year.

"You never want to give that up, but I think that says a lot about what we feel about Jeffrey Otah," Hurney said. "The two players together help us toward our goal, the personality and character, whatever you want to call it. They're two very physical players."

With Hurney and Fox under pressure to get Carolina back into the postseason, the Panthers were looking for a rugged back to complement DeAngelo Williams after DeShaun Foster was released.

"He's a great back, and I want to be a great back as well," Stewart said of Williams. "We're going to make this thing happen in the backfield together."

The Panthers took the 5-foot-10, 233-pound Stewart before they addressed their big hole at defensive end.



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