Carolina Panthers

Round 6, Pick 204: Panthers select ... Tyler Gaffney

Tyler Gaffney

Height: 5-11 Weight: 220 pounds.

Position: Running back

College: Stanford

What he offers: A slasher at running back, Gaffney rushed for 1,709 yards as a senior for the Cardinal. He had nine games of at least 100 yards last season, and his 330 carries and 21 touchdowns were among the top three in a single season in school history. Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman praised Gaffney’s blitz pickup abilities.

Why he fits: A sixth-round pick won’t threaten DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart for a starting job, but with Stewart’s injured past and last year’s sixth-rounder Kenjon Barner still working on his pass protection, Gaffney could be a valuable backup. Like most late-round picks, Gaffney will be asked to contribute to special teams.

Worth mentioning: The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Gaffney as an outfielder in the 24th round of the MLB draft in 2012. He played in the minors for one season but missed his football teammates. Football has always been his first love, so he returned to the Cardinal and worked his way back up the depth chart.

Bet you didn’t know: Gaffney went to San Diego Cathedral Catholic with Ron Rivera’s children, Christopher and Courtney. He’s closer in age to Courtney, though he said he didn’t know either of the Riveras that well in high school.

What they’re saying: “Solidly built with good body strength. Balanced runner with admirable toughness to shake and slide off tacklers. Runs hard and physical and would rather go through defenders than around them – will deliver hits with a strong stiff arm and often fall forward.” – CBS Sports’ Dane Brugler.

Jonathan Jones

Related stories from Charlotte Observer