April 24, 2010
NEW YORK - While Baylor receiver David Gettis gets a chance to return to his roots, taken in the sixth round of Saturday's NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, the Bears had three more players sign free-agent contracts and two invited for tryouts at rookie mini-camps.
Joining center J.D. Walton, who was taken in the third round by the Denver Broncos on Friday, Gettis gives Baylor two draft picks in the same year for just the third time in the Big 12 era.
Signed as free agents were linebacker Joe Pawelek with the Seattle Seahawks, defensive lineman Jason Lamb with the New York Jets and wide receiver Ernest Smith with the San Diego Chargers, while defensive tackle Trey Bryant and deep snapper Carter Brunelle were invited to rookie mini-camp tryouts with the St. Louis Rams and Green Bay Packers, respectively.
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Gettis was born in Cherry Point, N.C., moving to California when he was 3-years-old, and still has family in the Carolinas.
"It's a great opportunity," said Gettis, who was the 198th player taken overall. "I've still got a lot of family there, so it will be a great thing with all the support I'll have there."
The Panthers went heavy on the offensive side in the draft, taking quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame and Tony Pike of Cincinnati in the second and sixth rounds, respectively; and receivers Brandon LaFell of LSU and Armanti Edwards of Appalachian State, both in the third round, in addition to Gettis.
"I got to know (LaFell) at the (NFL) Combine," Gettis said, "so it will be good to know somebody in the Panthers' organization. It will be good to learn from (veteran receiver) Steve Smith. I just want to be the best I can possibly be. I feel blessed to be drafted. It's hard to get drafted, and it's an honor to feel that some team wants you badly enough to draft you."
The senior receiver from Los Angeles, Calif., was second on the team with 52 catches for 675 yards (13.0-yard average) and was named Baylor's Co-Offensive MVP. For his career, he finished with 116 receptions for 1,455 yards (12.5-yard average) and four TDs.
Gettis said he will fly out to North Carolina on Monday for his first rookie mini-camp with the Panthers.
"I'm already in game mode," he said. "I'm just looking forward to playing football."
The 6-2, 240-pound Pawelek, a two-time All-American and two-time Academic All-American, finished as Baylor's No. 2 all-time leading tackler with 422 career stops. He also finished with 22 ½ tackles for losses, 27 pass breakups, nine career interceptions, 6.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries.
An honorable mention All-Big 12 pick, the 6-5, 285-pound Lamb had a team-high seven stops behind the line, shared the team lead with three sacks and also blocked two kicks. The 6-3, 200-pound Smith finished third on the team in receiving with 39 catches for 360 yards.
A three-year starter, the 6-2, 315-pound Bryant had 24 tackles, one sack and three QB hurries as a senior. Brunelle (6-2, 230) is a former walk-on from Duluth, Ga., who was the Bears' primary long snapper for punts, field goals and extra points each of the last two seasons.