Carolina Panthers training camp awards: 2021 edition

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB

All eyes were on Sam Darnold during training camp. After an indifferent start during a brief period of adjustment, the quarterback really came to life when the pads came on and left a positive impact on everyone associated with the Carolina Panthers.

The stakes are incredibly high for Darnold in 2021. Failure to take advantage of what is a huge opportunity following his trade from the New York Jets is critical and if the signal-caller fluffs his lines yet again, it’ll probably be the end of his starting hopes in the NFL.

Carolina sees a player with serious untapped potential in Darold.

They also believe this is the perfect scheme and environment for the former first-round pick to finally start reaching the levels expected when he entered the league out of USC.

Whether Darnold has enough in the locker to accomplish this remains to be seen.

There are some who remain skeptical, and rightfully so. After all, Darnold didn’t have the best three years at MetLife Stadium to open his career, even if the majority of the blame cannot be put on his shoulders.

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However, the signal-caller has people within the organization confident. That was always going to be half the battle for Darnold, who deserves Training Camp MVP based on not only his steady improvements, but also commanding the respect of his teammates at the earliest possible opportunity ahead of a crucial campaign.