The Carolina Panthers may have gotten a new quarterback in Sam Darnold, but the former New York Jet still has a lot to prove.
Darnold played his last three seasons with the Jets, but struggled to establish himself as a solid franchise quarterback. During his tenure in New York, the 23-year-old tailed 729 completions on 1,219 attempts, with 45 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. To add he threw for eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season.
Pro Football Focus curated a list of 32 starters ahead of the 2021 NFL season, ranking five of the worst starters at their respective positions. Based on Darnold's past credentials and stats, he graced the list at No. 28.
Writer Bruce Gradkowski wrote:
"The No. 3 overall pick in 2018 will try to resurrect his career with Carolina. Darnold had the worst passing grade last year out of 36 qualifying quarterbacks, but he also didn’t get much help from the leagues second-lowest-graded receiving unit.
How much changes in Carolina? He will be surrounded by a more stable organization and leadership, as well as offensive weapons that will help take the pressure off. He’s athletic, tough and able to make plays out of structure, but that is unpredictable. Let’s not forget Darnold has the fourth-highest uncatchable pass rate (21.9%) since 2019, so his accuracy will have to improve to utilize his weapons on offense."
Ahead of Darnold on PFF's list was Drew Lock at No. 32, Jalen Hurts at No. 31, and Zach Wilson at No. 30.
The USC alum beings his new journey with the Carolina Panthers this fall. The Panthers acquired Darnold this offseason in exchange for 2022 second and fourth round picks and a 2021 sixth round pick.
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