5 Panthers players who need to become alphas at 2021 training camp

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB

Sam Darnold wasted no time in making an impression on his new teammates during voluntary OTAs and mandatory minicamp. This is the first step towards what will hopefully be a successful career for the quarterback with the Carolina Panthers.

Acquiring Darnold via trade from the New York Jets is a big risk. His production might come with an asterisk over three years at MetLife Stadium, but the former first-round pick’s decision-making even from a clean pocket was often suspect and needs significant improvement.

Training camp this summer is the perfect chance for the Panthers to get some bad habits out of Darnold. Trying different things during preseason reps on the field is something else the coaching staff will no doubt consider.

It’s now or never for Darold. Nobody can dispute that at this juncture.

The signal-caller did receive praise for his early command of the huddle from Christian McCaffrey. This must continue when the pads go on at camp and he’s been given the perfect chance to make an instant impact in a competitive setting with a game against the team that discarded him in Week 1.

Becoming an alpha will assist Darnold to gain the respect of his teammates, who might be a little skeptical about his ability to turn things around judging by what we’ve seen from the USC product so far.