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April 27, 2013

Panthers take LB A.J. Klein in fifth round

The Panthers went against form with their fifth-round pick Saturday, finally taking a player who weighed less than 300 pounds.

After taking big bodies with his first three picks, Panthers GM Dave Gettleman selected Iowa State inside linebacker A.J. Klein in the fifth round with the 148th pick.

Klein was a three-time All-Big 12 selection, and shared the conference's defensive player of the year award in 2011 with current Panthers DE Frank Alexander.

Klein, who is 6-1 and 250 pounds, can play all three linebacker spots. And though he is known more for his run-stopping abilities than his coverage skills, Klein returned four of his five career interceptions for touchdowns.

Klein said he's grown accustomed to people questioning his speed, although he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds at the combine.

"I played in an open league, you could say, with the spread offenses in the Big 12. And having to play in space," Klein said in a conference call Saturday.

"I've always had people question my athletic ability, but obviously I think I put those rumors to rest. And obviously the Carolina staff and organization saw enough in me to draft me."

Klein essentially will take the place of Jason Phillips as a backup linebacker and special teams player. Phillips signed with Philadelphia as a free agent this offseason.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on April 27, 2013 at 02:51 PM | Permalink


Awful pick. Ryan swipe would have been MUCH better

Posted by: Yippee | Apr 27, 2013 2:56:18 PM

Can't say I agree with the pick. More pressing needs in the secondary, and if you're going to draft LB depth then get Reddick or Holloman.

Posted by: Paul | Apr 27, 2013 2:56:45 PM

Agree with yippee,although he meant Swope. I was really hoping we'd go that way....he'll be gone by our next pick.

Posted by: David | Apr 27, 2013 3:02:48 PM

Another great pick. Beason will be done by game 3 so we will need LB help.......

Posted by: Chill | Apr 27, 2013 3:04:54 PM

Klein is needed to fill the likely Beason injury hole. He is a 3 down linebacker that know what to do after he intercepts the ball --- Touchdown

Posted by: Greg Nelson | Apr 27, 2013 3:14:49 PM

EXACTLY....this is a genius pick for years to come. Make no mistake, Klein is our future starter at SLB or in a 3-4 alignment next to Kuechly in the middle.

Posted by: panthersnewbrass2 | Apr 27, 2013 3:18:22 PM

Glad we addressed our weaknesses....we should have drafted Jamar Taylor in the second round.....then who is this guy in the 4th...CBS is giving panthers a D for that pick, I was hoping playoffs now maybe a top ten pick next year for a left tackle...no lets take another DT because he is the bext available player

Posted by: goodmedicine | Apr 27, 2013 3:30:06 PM

Like the player, talented... but LB?? Depth? We just brought in Chase Blackburn from the Giants, have a strong starting 3 and we still have Senn... our weakest area of depth was D-line (draft fixed?), then O-line (draft fixed?) and then safety/ CB (free agent fixed?) and right after that WR (free agents fixed?)... linebacker has always been an area of great depth for us. But you know looking at the logic of how many guys we've brought in at each position... maybe all we needed was this guy for special teams and backup (via ESPN)? I guess it kinda does make since. Now watch us pick up a Kicker with our last pick... it fits this logic scheme...

Posted by: handyman | Apr 27, 2013 3:40:17 PM

Goodmedicine, who cares what CBS says?! If Gettleman wanted him, then I'll settle for that. Would I like another WR? Another OL? Sure. But with limited picks, no money, and plenty of areas of need, I'll take Gettlemans choice over the employer of Pete Prisco.

Posted by: Original Panther Dan | Apr 27, 2013 3:42:01 PM

I love the pick. Gettleman, I think, feels the secondary is set with who they picked up in free agency. We struggled against the run last year. He has essentially fixed that problem in the draft

Posted by: Justin | Apr 27, 2013 3:47:02 PM

Like the pick younger and durable players we are drafting good job so far

Posted by: Shutup bandwagoner | Apr 27, 2013 3:55:35 PM

As you sit on your couch and play Madden Football as a 42 year old.....let the experts do the drafting. They watch tape while you mow the lawn. Go Cats.

Posted by: Luke | Apr 27, 2013 4:18:58 PM

I wan this to be a great draft but other than 1st round, it is really looking like another Hurney draft. I sure hope I am wrong. I really don't like the OG pick in 4th round - another division II guard. Clips of the 5th round LB and he really looks stiff (remember Dan Connor). I hope all these guys make the pro bowl but I really have my concerns. Bet this is rated as a C- or D+ draft.

Posted by: Dave | Apr 27, 2013 4:57:43 PM

Did we really just draft another RB?!?!?!

Posted by: FoSho | Apr 27, 2013 4:58:47 PM

The spread will ALWAYS beat coverage if a decent QB has time. The way of the future is generic DBs in front of a dynamic front seven, and that's what the Panthers are doing. All the folks pining for safeties and corners are living in the past. Those guys don't matter any more.

Posted by: Dylar | Apr 27, 2013 6:16:34 PM

Anyone who thinks this team can be "fixed" in a year is an idiot. Gettelman's job is to "build" a team, not turn wine into water. Very likely, there will be free agents at safety and secondary whose skills are comparable to those of a fourth rounder. Some of the best players in football history went undrafted. You don't just draft a position because you need it. You draft someone who has the skills to do the job. If there isn't someone who can or there are plenty who can do it just as well in free agency then you wait. I don't know anything about the D ll guard but there are reasons other than talent that a guy might play Dll. If he's got the talent, he's got it. I'm not sold on Rivera as a coach but I have no doubt heknows football talent. If he and Gettelman like him, then fine by me. So much depends on his drive, work ethic, and health. As for the linebacker, I think they got good value. It's possible Jon Beason is finished, Thomas Davis had a great year but he is on what his third ACL surgery? That's uncharted territory for anyone. Impossible to say how long he can last. As for the running back, Kenyon Barner is both a great talent and a great value in the sixth round. Maybe we can trick someone into trading for Stewart and his perpetually injured ankles. I think it was a good draft but there is a lot of work to be done. Left tackle needs are huge in near future,
needs in secondary are obvious, but I think this is a great start.

Anyone who thinks Newton has to go deep into playoffs in order to be a boom and a bust is an idiot as well. Last year was not satisfactory but play calling was very different and absence of Shockey was a big loss. A second pass catching tight end is huge for a guy like Newton and takes a lot of pressure off the receivers as well. Brandon La Fell broke out with Shockey in there only to epitomize mediocrity last year. Newton's future success should be assessed by his improvement and by his continuing maturation in persona and leadership..

Posted by: Ezedub | Apr 27, 2013 6:27:08 PM

Great pick. Phillips replacement and I have a draft magazine stating this guy could be a pro bowler one day. Good enough for me.

Posted by: Brian | Apr 27, 2013 8:38:09 PM

I hate it. Awful pick! I'm the only ahole with a clue around here!

Posted by: marcjames | Apr 27, 2013 9:43:27 PM

I wasn't happy with this pick at first, but the more I think about it, it's a good insurance pick, and I know DG, and Rivera know what they want to build!

Posted by: T-Mac | Apr 28, 2013 1:55:47 PM

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