Why is Sam Darnold getting so much love from leading analysts?

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /

Why is Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold getting so much love from national NFL media analysts ahead of the 2021 season?

There is a sense of intrigue surrounding Sam Darnold that simply wasn’t there when the quarterback suited up for the New York Jets. The Carolina Panthers are hoping the former No. 3 overall selection in 2018 can make the most out of what appears to be a fantastic opportunity to reinvent himself, even though the production just hasn’t been there during his career so far.

Darnold has all the intangibles needed to make a real difference for the Panthers.

His arm strength and ability to move the chains quickly have been evident at times over the last three years. But the Jets didn’t do enough to maximize his talents before eventually cutting their losses in favor of BYU prospect Zach Wilson.

This is something that’s also being recognized by the national NFL media. Most are high on Darnold’s chances of making a better go of things in Carolina, with Chris Simms even putting the player at No. 19 on his quarterback list heading into the 2021 campaign.

Simms has gone to bat for Darnold plenty throughout his career. But the former pro is clearly banking on the signal-caller coming to life with an abundance of dynamic players around him.

Something he never had in New York.

"“I’m excited about Sam Darnold. We’re going to get answers about Sam Darnold this year. When I went back and watched him, there’s still plenty to like. Let’s not be unrealistic. What did we really expect from Sam Darnold in that offense? Like, come on. If you’re surrounded by s–t, you’re going to look like s–t every now and then. Now, we’re going to see some pieces around him to really prove my point. At least that’s what I hope we see because he was given no f—ing chance with the Jets the last few years.”"

Another well-respected media figure who is betting on Darnold to improve is Gill Brandt, who is a senior analyst over at NFL.com.

Sam Darnold has been given an early confidence boost by the Carolina Panthers.

The writer named Darnold as one of the players traded this offseason that could very well make the biggest impact in new surroundings, citing the Panthers’ confidence in picking up his fifth-year option as something that could propel the player to greater heights next time around.

"“After three tough years with the Jets, Sam Darnold gets a chance to reinvent himself in Carolina — and he’ll do so knowing the Panthers have made a significant investment in him. I think Darnold is going to have a good year.”"

This is all positive and will be a massive boost to Darnold’s confidence if he pays attention to such things.

Again, something that was unfamiliar to the USC product on the Jets.

Much like those in power in Carolina, analysts are banking on Darnold’s potential rather than his previous production. In truth, it could go either way.

Being on the lookout for a third starting quarterback in as many seasons would be a black mark on Matt Rhule’s record. The head coach has made a good impression in his first year, but until he gets things right at the most important position on the field, the Panthers will only get so far.

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This is the chance Darnold has been waiting for. He won’t get another one, so it’s absolutely vital he takes advantage and proves beyond all doubt that the Jets and almost everybody else wrote him off too soon.