4 ambitious goals for Carolina Panthers QB Sam Darnold in 2021

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Sam Darnold
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Sam Darnold /
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Sam Darnold
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold secures a 68 percent completion percentage

For all the faults directed at the New York Jets for the way they handled Sam Darnold, the quarterback must improve his decision-making to prove beyond all doubt he is a starting-caliber NFL player.

Completion percentage is one of the more overrated stats when it comes to signal-callers. If it meant that much, the Carolina Panthers wouldn’t have thrown in the towel on Teddy Bridgewater after just one season and absorbing a whopping dead-cap figure of more than $17 million for good measure.

Darnold’s previous career-high in this regard came in 2019 with 61.9 percent. Not exactly jaw-dropping by any stretch of the imagination.

Again, this should all change on the Panthers.

Given the level of talent in the passing game, it would be a big surprise if at least one player wasn’t always open on any given down. Providing Darnold goes through his progressions quickly, his completion success rate could reap some instant rewards.

A completion percentage of 68 percent – which was top-seven in the league last season – is an ambitious goal Darnold can aim for. Something slightly lower wouldn’t be the end of the world, but moving the chains efficiently is the key to a potential turnaround.