NFC South QB power rankings: Where does Baker Mayfield fit?

(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Baker Mayfield
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

7. player. 87. . . . SAM DARNOLD

Sam Darnold

Although there was a lot of big talk about how well Sam Darnold had evolved this offseason, there was almost no chance of the Carolina Panthers moving forward with the quarterback as their undisputed starter in 2022. The former USC star failed to meet expectations following his trade from the New York Jets, which resulted in the same complications coming to the fore from the moment Christian McCaffrey went out of the lineup.

The Panthers opted to trigger Darnold’s fifth-year option in the hope they’d be getting a bargain if everything worked out. Instead, they now have a very expensive backup on their hands after a deal was secured for Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield and Darnold came out of the same draft class. Both have had their ups and downs, but the Heisman Trophy winner comes with far more success and consistency than the player who was taken two spots later in the 2018 draft.

Carolina is looking for a true quarterback competition in training camp. Perhaps this will bring the best out of Darnold in pursuit of winning the job or gaining interest from elsewhere.

The bad production since entering the league is there for all to see. Robbie Anderson had a point when talking about Darnold’s early development on the Jets, but his chances of forging a successful starting career are evaporating quickly.