WR David Gettis (Rick Havner/AP)
The Carolina Panthers loaded their receiving corps with young talent, hoping camp competition brings out the best in everybody. One of the competitors is sixth-round pick David Gettis, who chats it up with Panther Insider regarding his experience so far and his goals for the season ahead.
The draft can be a nerve-racking experience for prospective pro players. It’s the weekend when they find out if their collegiate résumé is strong enough to merit an invite to the Big Leagues.
Some players spend the weekend clinging to their agent or watching the draft scroll at the bottom of their TV screen. David Gettis was not one of those players.
“One day, I went go-karting with my dad and my sister,” Gettis said of his weekend activities. “Another day, I played some video games with a couple of my friends from high school. I really didn’t watch the draft at all.”
Gettis (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) was not worried about how high he may be drafted. All he wanted was a chance to go to the NFL and play for a great team -- and to Gettis, the Panthers qualify.
Gettis is already leaning on the greatest Panther, wideout Steve Smith, as he makes his transition.
“Steve is being helpful as far as teaching us rookies techniques and different things like that,” Gettis said. “Also, all the position coaches have been great to us. They are coaching us to where we can come into training camp and we won’t be that far behind and won’t be that lost.”
Gettis noted that Strength and Conditioning Coach Jerry Simmons has been particularly helpful. Simmons has worked with Gettis throughout minicamps and OTAs. He’s also given Gettis plenty to work on between now and training camp.
“I’m catching a lot of balls and making sure my endurance is up,” Gettis said. “I’m also making sure I’m hydrated, because I heard horror stories about how hot it is in Spartanburg. So I’m making sure I’m hydrated and making sure I catch at least 200 balls a day. I’m running, too, so it’s a combination of all that and at the same time being relaxed and knowing it’s just football.”
The goal for Gettis is to carryover his collegiate success to the NFL. He comes off a senior season in which he ranked second on the Bears with 52 catches for 675 yards and three touchdowns. It capped a four-year career that saw him record 116 catches and 1,555 yards.
His college teammate, WR Ernest Smith, is also going pro this season after joining the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent. Gettis gives credit to the Baylor program for sending two receivers to the NFL in the same season.
“The biggest thing at Baylor was just playing fast and playing every play like it is your last play,” Gettis said. “Our coaches graded us on how we performed on every single play. I think it helped me out a lot, especially at this level, because someone is always critiquing you. So it’s not that big of a jump for me.”
While the critics are many, so are the supporters. One such supporter is Jason Smith, the tackle from Baylor who was selected by the St. Louis Rams with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
“Before we even went to the NFL Combine [Smith] talked to me about what to expect,” Gettis said. “He told me just to let things happen and to make sure I do everything I can, at least with the things I have control over. He said if I did that I wouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
Smith was correct. Gettis performed well at the Combine and got drafted by a receiver-needy team. Now, Gettis will jockey with third-round picks Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards for a spot in a rotation that will also include veterans Smith and Dwayne Jarrett.
Let the worrying begin.
How much will Gettis contribute this season? Discuss inside the message boards.