4 major factors that could hamper Sam Darnold’s production in 2021

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold’s protection

One only has to look at how much Sam Darnold was running for his life on the New York Jets to see what complications could emerge with poor protection. If the Carolina Panthers don’t find the right solutions to problem positions where the offensive line is concerned, then spending three draft picks to get the signal-caller on board will be for nothing.

The jury is still out as to whether Carolina has enough in the way of quality to get the job done in this area of the field. Taylor Moton is one of the league’s best right tackles, but he’s about the only reliable presence that can be truly counted on.

Matt Paradis might be solid at the center spot. Although that is no guarantee.

However, it’s at left tackle which is causing many fans to worry.

Cam Erving just isn’t the man for the job judging by his production in recent years. Greg Little’s struggles make him another potential gamble, Trenton Scott is a journeyman for the depth chart and Dennis Daley also comes with some risk.

Rookie Brady Christensen was elite protecting Zach Wilson’s blindside at BYU. But the Panthers don’t appear willing to give the third-round pick a shot and graded him higher as a guard during the evaluation process.

Carolina needs to find answers – and quickly – in order for Darnold to hit the ground running in 2021.