5 Carolina Panthers players whose stock is soaring through Week 3

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore /
4 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers QB

Things could have gone either way for Sam Darnold this season. The Carolina Panthers placed a reasonable wager on the signal-caller turning his career around, but few expected the player to gain so much positive momentum so early in his time with the franchise.

Outside of the odd error, Darnold has been lights out.

His composure in the pocket and decision-making under pressure have made significant strides after an offseason of hard work with quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan, who seems to be working his magic with the USC product so far.

Darnold producing the goods – especially in the second half at the Houston Texans – is exactly why the Panthers brought him from the New York Jets and why they are currently 3-0.

This road to redemption will have plenty of twists and turns to come. And it’ll be interesting to see how Carolina and Darnold cope without their All-Pro running back once again.

But the Panthers can reflect on the trade with nothing but optimism over the first three weeks of the 2021 season.

Keeping this sort of production up for an entire season is Darnold’s biggest challenge. However, the No. 3 overall selection in 2018 has rarely been flustered since arriving in Carolina and hopes are high this won’t just be a fleeting moment of glory.