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Gettleman: Odell Beckham draft's best route runner

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is a breath of fresh air.

He's one of the few high-level football executives who is consistently candid, regaling reporters with expansive, reasoned explanations for his team's major transactions and general philosophy.

Among Gettleman's recent ruminations, two stand out: Giants rookie Odell Beckham is head and shoulders above the rest of the rookie crop as a route runner, and Panthers rookie Kelvin Benjamin is reminiscent of a young Plaxico Burress.

At his post-draft press conference, Gettleman twice emphasized that Beckham was the only legitimate "run the entire route tree" wide receiver in the draft. In a Wednesday interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Gettleman doubled down on that statement, telling Ross Tucker that Beckham is the only rookie receiver who doesn't need route work entering the NFL.

"The college game, by and large, is really kind of a different game from ours," Gettleman explained after the draft. "You watch these receivers, they catch 120 balls and you got 60 smokescreens. And they run three routes."

Giants fans should be thrilled that a football lifer of Gettleman's esteem thinks so highly of their first-round pick. Fantasy footballers should also take notice that Beckham is the most polished rookie receiver, immediately capable of replacing Hakeem Nicks on the outside.

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Panthers fans have their own reason to get excited in Benjamin's comparison to Burress, who starred in the Big Apple when Gettleman was in the Giants front office.

"When I watched him, I thought I was watching a young Plaxico," Gettleman told Tucker. "He's a better athlete than people realize, he plays faster than people think. And he made some 'OMG' catches in the rookie minicamp. He's talented, he has good focus, he learns well. And it's important to him. It's really important to him."

Asked by reporters why he passed on Marqise Lee to draft Benjamin, Gettleman pointed to the latter's "big strike zone," ability to make catches when he's pressured and red-zone impact.

"You can't coach 6'5", 240 with a 34-inch arm length and 10-inch hands," Gettleman added.

What Gettleman didn't publicly acknowledge is that those traits take on an even higher priority under Cam Newton, who still struggles with accuracy in the intermediate to deep range.

The Panthers were lucky to have need meet value for the second consecutive draft.

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