Carolina Panthers QB
Although the Carolina Panthers continue to call it a quarterback ‘competition’ between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, it would be an absolute bombshell if the recent acquisition wasn’t under center in Week 1. What that means for the USC product is irrelevant, but he can have no complaints given how poor performances were following his high-profile trade from the New York Jets.
Mayfield’s integrated superbly into the set-up, taking on a significant amount of information in a short space of time and also emerging as a prominent figure within the locker room. Darnold had a decent camp of his own, but there was just something different whenever the former Oklahoma standout came in for reps.
Despite the encouraging signs, this is a gamble by the Panthers until Mayfield proves otherwise.
Many in the national media expect him to fail with a supposed drop in talent levels around him. But the signal-caller is highly motivated to prove doubters wrong in the final year of his deal.
There are enough playmakers around Mayfield for the quarterback to thrive. However. there is concern that Matt Rhule’s constant tinkering on the offensive line and denying the Heisman Trophy winner the lion’s share of reps has the scope to complicate continuity when the regular season arrives.
Hopefully, that won’t be the case. If Mayfield reaches or exceeds expectations, then expect some substantial improvements from the Panthers in 2022.