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After watching his NFC South rivals lean heavily toward defensive players at the top of the draft, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he wasn’t surprised.

Jerry Richardson, who owns the Carolina Panthers, sits on a golf cart Saturday outside the West Entrance of Bank of America Stadium. The team annually throws a draft party, and Richardson doesn’t want to miss it.

Carolina Panthers add Valdosta State lineman Edmund Kugbila on Saturday; GM Dave Gettleman pleased with results of first draft class.

With the draft done, we thought we'd take our first crack at the Carolina Panthers' two-deep.

Unofficial list of Carolina Panthers' undrafted free agents. The team will release the official list Monday after all the contracts are executed.

Panthers fans at the Saturday draft party expressed optimism for the 2013 season with the addition of first- and second-round picks of Star Lotuleilei and Kawann Short. They also said months of negotiations between the city of Charlotte and the Panthers over public money for stadium renovations have left them uneasy.

Edmund Kugbila never watched an NFL game in his 10 years in Ghana. ... Now, 13 years after he and his family moved from Africa to Lawrenceville, Ga., Kugbila is a Carolina Panther.

A quick look at the Carolina Panthers’ fifth-round draft pick, A.J. Klein.

A quick look at the Carolina Panthers’ 6th-round draft pick, Kenjon Barner.

As the hours wore on Saturday, it looked increasingly less likely that Duke would break its NFL draft drought.

Sylvester Williams was headed nowhere fast until he decided he wanted more for himself. He quit his factory job and made himself into an NFL player after starring at UNC.

Anyone waiting to see whether the Panthers would adopt the New York Giants’ draft philosophy under first-year general manager Dave Gettleman, wonder no more.

The Carolina Panthers suddenly can’t get enough of the big guys – they drafted their second straight 300-plus pound defensive tackle Friday night in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.

Star Lotulelei has a perfect build for a furniture mover. That’s what Lotulelei did during a year in limbo after he signed with Brigham Young but failed to qualify academically.

As a standout defensive tackle at Utah, Star Lotulelei frequently took up two offensive linemen on snaps.

For the first time since 1967, no running back was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. But the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t wait long before taking the first one off the board on the second day, selecting Giovani Bernard with the 37th overall pick – the fifth pick in second round.

A quick look at the Carolina Panthers’ second-round draft pick, Kawann Short

That’s all the time first-year general manager Dave Gettleman needed to land his big “hog molly.”

Yes, he’s got that star-quality name, but what Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei will really do for the Panthers will be more behind the scenes.

I’d be lying if I said defensive tackle Star Lotulelei of Utah is the player I hoped Carolina would draft.

A quick look at the Carolina Panthers’ first-round draft pick, Star Lotulelei.

Jonathan Cooper was once too heavy to play Pop Warner football, too unskilled to play a meaningful role for his middle school team and then too unknown to draw attention from major college programs. All the while, though, he kept his lifelong dream of becoming an NFL player alive.

A pick-by-pick look at the first round of the 2013 NFL draft, by the Observer’s Jonathan Jones.

When Clemson's DeAndre Hopkins heard recently that Andre Johnson wanted the Houston Texans to draft a receiver in the first round of the NFL draft, he thought: "I'm that guy."

Here's a look at Thursday's NFL draft chat with Charlotte Observer sports writer Joe Person and columnist Tom Sorensen.

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