Carolina Panthers QB search in 2022 may rely heavily on the 2018 class as the draft approaches

The Carolina Panthers kicked off the 2018 NFL draft by selecting USC quarterback Max Browne in the third round. It was a bit of an unorthodox selection as there is no clear heir apparent to Cam Newton who will be 35 in 2022 and missed all but one game last season due to injury.

The “charlotte observer sports section” is a newspaper that covers the Carolina Panthers. The article discusses how the team may rely on the 2018 class as they approach the 2022 draft.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — If you’re still unsure what new Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo meant when he proclaimed Sam Darnold the starting quarterback on Tuesday before reversing and saying, “That wasn’t anything I should have said,” check out his 2018 interview with the New York Post.

McAdoo, who was unemployed at the time after being dismissed by the New York Giants gave the publication his opinion on the quarterback selection class. Josh Allen of Wyoming was ranked No. 1, Lamar Jackson of Louisville was No. 2, Sam Darnold of Southern California was No. 3, Josh Rosen of UCLA was No. 4, Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State was No. 5, and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma was No. 6.

Fast forward to the 2022 class and the Panthers’ quest for a franchise quarterback, and his appraisal was dead on for a coach who prides himself on quarterback evaluation. Allen and Jackson have plainly been the most successful, while the others with whom McAdoo had big problems have faltered.

Mayfield was selected first overall by the Cleveland Browns Darnold third by the New York Jets Allen seventh by the Buffalo Bills, Rosen tenth by the Arizona Cardinals, Jackson 32nd by the Baltimore Ravens and Rudolph 76th by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round.

When McAdoo says Darnold is his starter, keep this in mind. Consider this amid rumors that the Panthers are interested in dealing for Mayfield after the draft, which league sources say is still a possibility, depending on who Carolina selects at No. 6.

Mayfield became expendable when the Browns traded for former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to ESPN commentator Mike Tannenbaum, who was the general manager of the Miami Dolphins in 2018.

Four years ago he shared some of McAdoo’s reservations about Mayfield.

Tannebaum stated of the Panthers, “I’d pick a solid guy at six and go select and develop my own quarterback.”

It’s worth noting that McAdoo subsequently qualified his selection of Darnold as the starter by referring to “the way it is in the building right now” and refused to comment on Mayfield or the 2022 quarterback class. Remember, Darnold and P.J. Walker are Carolina’s only two quarterbacks under contract.

It’s also worth mentioning that McAdoo said that when it comes to quarterbacks, he’s a “huge swing for the fences sort of person.”

In Buffalo and Baltimore, Allen and Jackson were bold shots that paid off. Allen was named to the Pro Bowl in 2020 (but refused to be an alternate this year), and he has led the Bills to the playoffs three times in a row, with a 34-15 record. With a 37-12 record, Jackson was named the NFL Most Valuable Player in 2019. He is also a two-time Pro Bowl selection.


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As a result, it begs the issue of whether Mayfield is really an improvement over Darnold. Would the Panthers be better off taking a chance on Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, and Mississippi’s Matt Corral, who are the first three picks in next week’s draft?

“Right now, I’m not comfortable talking about it,” McAdoo said.

You can’t blame him in this age of smokescreens and posturing.

In 2018, though, McAdoo was at ease. So maybe his remarks on each will help illustrate how he felt about that class and why starting over with a rookie makes more sense than a Darnold-Mayfield showdown.

“He’s got an edge about him,” McAdoo said of Mayfield at the time. He’ll take the lead, and they’ll follow. In his college footage, I didn’t see much pro-style football. And if you’re short, you’ll have to compensate in some manner, and personality won’t help you achieve that. I didn’t believe he was a really gifted athlete. I’m concerned because he looks like a pocket quarterback who is short and has little hands.”


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Today: Mayfield still is short (6-foot-1) by quarterback standards and his hands haven’t grown. Is he an upgrade over Darnold? According to ESPN Stats & Information, some but not much. Mayfield had a 2021 Total QBR of 35.1, which ranked 27th in the NFL. Darnold was at 33.2, 29th. Both ranked near the bottom of the league in completion percentage, Mayfield 27th (60.5) and Darnold 28th (59.5). Each had 13 interceptions, tied for 19th. Mayfield’s biggest edge was in touchdown passes, 17 to Darnold’s nine. Fast-forward that to the 2022 class and what McAdoo said about small hands. The biggest concern over Pickett are his 8.5 inch hands, the third-smallest of any quarterback at the combine since 2003.

“The guy the Jets selected has a lot of magic in his game,” McAdoo said at the time. I’d have a hard time picking a quarterback in the first round if I didn’t like the way he throws. Guys have conquered that, but that’s something that’s a problem for me.”

Today: Since the Panthers acquired Darnold, his footwork has been a source of worry. In four seasons, Darnold has thrown 52 interceptions and 54 touchdown passes. Darnold, according to McAdoo, still “has some magic in his game” and has shown “flashes of becoming a terrific player.”

Which is better, according to Tannenbaum, is “apples to oranges.” Mayfield impressed him in 2018 in terms of “athleticism and competitiveness, arm strength,” according to McAdoo. Size and quickness were both concerns for him.

In 2018, his main issue with Darnold was turnovers, and that hasn’t changed.

Tannenbaum believes the 2022 class will be similar to the 2018 class in that it will be “pot luck” since everyone has shortcomings.

McAdoo concurred, noting that each had its own “complexities.” He’s not saying much more than that.

“There are so many different tastes out there,” he said. “It’s exactly what you’re searching for.”

The “carolina panthers qb 2022 ” is a news article that discusses the upcoming draft and the Carolina Panthers. It says that the Carolina Panthers may rely heavily on the 2018 class as the draft approaches.

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