4 remaining obstacles preventing Panthers long-term progress

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /

Carolina Panthers need a franchise QB

Sam Darnold‘s impressive first start of the season in Week 12 doesn’t change an important area of need for the Carolina Panthers this offseason. They desperately need a franchise quarterback to build around long-term.

A series of losing gambles during Matt Rhule’s tenure was the one thing above all else holding this team back. The Panthers cannot afford another miss at football’s most critical position and it would be a massive shock if they didn’t address this urgently.

Much will depend on where the Panthers are picking, but they might use their first selection during the 2023 NFL Draft on a promising young signal-caller. Although only two – Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud – are talented enough to start right away.

This leaves Carolina in a predicament of sorts. If a prospect such as Anthony Richardson, Will Levis, or Michael Penix Jr. comes on board, they’ll need a veteran bridge to man the plate until the younger option is ready to assume command under center.

Darnold could be that guy, in all honesty. Especially if he continues to demonstrate promise and manages games in a similar fashion to what transpired against the Denver Broncos over Carolina’s remaining games.

It’s not ideal and there are many fans that wanted the team to tank for Young or Stroud. However, interim head coach Steve Wilks is a proud man and this was never going to enter the equation.