INDIANAPOLIS -- Dave Gettleman never worked with Bill Walsh, but the legacy of the legendary Hall of Fame coach has clearly rubbed off on the current day talent evaluator.
Gettleman, the general manager of the Carolina Panthers since 2013, referenced one of Walsh's key scouting principles in a Wednesday podium visit at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine.
The GM of the reigning NFC South and Conference champions has been in NFL front offices since 1999, when he was the pro personnel director of the New York Giants. Gettleman has since assemebled a talented roster for the Panthers, as evidenced by the team's 15-1 regular season in 2015.
When asked to describe the state of his team's running back group, Gettleman shared his feelings on each player on the depth chart. He then went into an explanation on how he views talent evaluation principles and name-dropped Walsh in the process.
"When you have these guys you have to develop them," Gettleman said. "We're not getting instant oatmeal anymore. Did anybody here read Bill Walsh's book, (Finding) The Winning Edge? One of the concepts he had was he had a two-year rule. His concept was from the day you walked in the building, you had two years to prove your value to the San Francisco 49ers. No matter who you were. It went from the first-round draft picks to coaches throughout the building.
"He said if they haven't proved their worth after two years, they've got to go. Well back then the NFL was getting a much more finished product. So now it's really a three-year rule. And you've got to understand there's going to be growing pains. Nothing's easy. A guy can have all the talent in the world. But this game is about fundamentals and when we're getting them they don't have it. So our coaches have to really coach and teach, and it takes longer."
Walsh's first book, which was published in 1997, is still one of the most referenced writings in the coaching profession.
ESPN senior writer Seth Wickersham detailed the creation of the book and its longstanding impact in a 2013 feature story.