4 emerging draft busts on the Carolina Panthers in 2022

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Tommy Tremble
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Tommy Tremble /
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Carolina Panthers
(Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Baker Mayfield – Carolina Panthers QB

When the Carolina Panthers made another bold trade to bring Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns, it was seen by many as something that could finally get this organization trending upward at long last. This notion was strengthened by an impressive transition to a different environment despite being forced into a quarterback competition with Sam Darnold when everyone knew who’d be starting Week 1.

Mayfield’s back was against the wall pretty early on. But it didn’t take long to determine that this was another flawed gamble by the Panthers for a player that’s on a concerning slide after being selected No. 1 overall in 2018.

If Mayfield’s starting opportunity in Week 11 was one final audition to see out the season, he failed miserably. This was another inept performance from the former Oklahoma phenom in the face of high-quality opposition, which left the Panthers with no option other than to introduce Sam Darnold as their primary option this weekend against the Denver Broncos.

This is nothing short of disastrous for Mayfield’s NFL prospects. Being the first pick and facing such an uncertain future after just five seasons is far from ideal and it’s going to take a monumental effort from the signal-caller to carve out a role for himself elsewhere.

Perhaps working his way up from an understudy role is the best Mayfield can hope for. Players have done this successfully in the past, but much will depend on how much interest comes his way in free agency.

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