Grading Sam Darnold’s first three games as Carolina Panthers QB
Sam Darnold overall grade through Week 3
There was a quiet sense of optimism surrounding Sam Darnold after a strong training camp. But few believed the quarterback would hit the ground running in this fashion.
There are still some things the player himself needs to work on. However, his confidence is growing with every passing game and even though there will be more in the way of responsibility on his shoulders if Christian McCaffrey is out for an extended period, it might just be the making of him.
Darnold has looked the part and the Carolina Panthers are benefitting. His footwork has improved dramatically – as has his decision-making under pressure – so providing things progress on the offensive line then the organization may have found its long-term successor for Cam Newton.
It’s still early days and Darnold has to put a better run of consistency together in pursuit of convincing everyone. But his production when the Panthers needed him to stand up and be counted at the Houston Texans was a testament to how far he’s come in such a short space of time.
Anyone who thinks Darnold hasn’t been playing exceptional football simply has an agenda at this point. The Panthers took a massive gamble bringing him on board after striking out in bids for Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson, but the gunslinger has repaid their faith an untold amount so far.