5 things to know about OL Greg Little
The Carolina Panthers haven’t drafted an offensive lineman as high as Ole Miss tackle Greg Little since selecting Jeff Otah at No. 19 in 2008. And it’s safe to say that they hope Little, the 37th overall pick, works out a lot better than Otah, who strung together three years for the Panthers but suffered numerous injuries.
Little, a 6foot-5 and 325pound native of Allen, Texas, met with Charlotte media for the first time on Saturday afternoon.
Here are five things to know about him:
HE DREW SOME PRE-DRAFT CRITICISM THE PANTHERS THOUGHT WAS UNFAIR
The Panthers had a firstround grade on Little, and when a small run on tackles began in the later parts of the first round, they began making calls to teams about possibly trading up so they could get him.
Little might have fallen to the second round because of some external criticism that indicated he wasn’t “edgy” enough. When asked about this in his news conference Saturday, Little handled it well despite being a little nervous about the crowd and the cameras.
“I could be ‘edgier’ at times,” said Little, not wanting to criticize his detractors. “Me and
Mr. Marty (Hurney) had a good conversation. He understands me a lot. He said it’s not a fair critique on me, that I’m not ‘edgy.’ He said I get my job done.
“But what he wants is for me to get my job done, and then some more.”
That, Little said, means firing up his ‘mean streak’ before an opposing player pulls it out of him.
“I have a mean streak,” he said. “Marty and I just talked about ... just starting the game off with (it).”
HE KNOWS FORMER OLE MISS/PANTHERS TACKLE MICHAEL OHER AND FAMILY
Little wore the same No. 74 at Ole Miss that Oher did. He only met Oher, also a former Panthers left tackle, once, but shared a nice moment with Oher’s adopted mother, Leigh Ann Tuohy.
“When I first got to Ole Miss and took 74 over, she came up and gave me a big ol’ hug and she said, ‘I had to meet the guy who was going taking over my son’s number,’ ” he said. “(She said) ‘I’m very happy of who has his number now.’
“I love everything about his situation, his story — and he was a Panther from Ole Miss, same number — it is kind of funny and crazy to think about.”
So ... that’s two former Ole Miss left tackles, both of whom wore No.
74. Seventy-four divided by two is
37. Little was the Panthers’ pick at No. 37.
It all makes sense now.
HE’S EAGER TO CONTRIBUTE IMMEDIATELY
While head coach Ron Rivera didn’t want to commit to the idea of Little as the Panthers’ starting left tackle in Week 1 of the regular season, Hurney played it a little more loosely.
“We had a chance to get a guy at a premier position that can come in and compete for playing time immediately,” said Hurney. “And we think he has all the skills to be our starting left tackle for a long time.”
Little is extremely motivated to be that player.
“I want to show people that I’m the best left tackle in this draft,” he said. “And I want to be here a long time doing things I love to do, which is keeping people safe.”
If Little can step into a feature role, he hopes it comes without a lot of attention.
“Offensive linemen, we’re not really big into the limelight,” he said. “We just put our heads down, work and do our jobs. I’m ready to join that group.”
And he wants to contribute to the locker room in other ways, too. Little loves the outdoors and fishing. He said he’s eager to continue the longtime tradition of an offensive line camping trip, which was started by now-retired center Ryan Kalil.
HIS NO. 1 GOAL IS TO PROTECT PANTHERS QUARTERBACK CAM NEWTON
One of Little’s first comments shortly after getting drafted Friday night was about how important it is to him to keep franchise quarterback Cam Newton safe.
He said Saturday he takes that job personally.
“I’m really competitive,” he laughed. “I hate losing in anything I do, whether it’s playing spades with my grandma at home or going to the bowling alley with my girlfriend.
“I take pride in keeping my quarterback safe. It irks me even if the defensive end beats me and didn’t get (to the quarterback). It still irks me that he beat me on the play. Because it’s not a good feeling to see your quarterback get hit, and then you have to look at him and help him up ... I don’t want (anyone) close to him.”
And perhaps most importantly...
HE’S A DOG PERSON
Little has a pit bull/Labrador retriever mix named “Stella”, who undoubtedly is a very good dog.
Carolina Panthers draft pick Greg Little responds to reporter’s questions during his introductory news conference at Bank of America Stadium on Saturday. “I want to show people that I’m the best left tackle in this draft,” he said.