NFL: Ranking every quarterback midseason

Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /
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Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold #14 of the Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

NFL: Ranking every quarterback midseason: 26. Sam Darnold – Carolina Panthers

Sam Darnold was much, much higher on this ranking, but a pathetic performance in MetLife Stadium has him plummeting down to the same spots he used to hold when he was with the Jets. Darnold was so good that people were starting him on their fantasy team. Now, he’s waiver wire fodder. Most Carolina Panthers fans probably wish they could do that in real life.

The issue with real-life football over fantasy is you’re not trading out Kirk Cousins for Sam Darnold. The Panthers have to start XFL star  P.J. Walker if they don’t play Darnold. He is a former Temple alum, so he has a special place in Matt Rhule’s heart, but it’s definitely not an ideal situation.

Darnold has five yards or less per attempt for three straight games from the Eagles game to the Giants game. Not only is he making mistakes, but he’s not taking chances. He is going for the easy throw despite having D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Terrace Marshall Jr. catching passes. He needs to get aggressive if he’s going to keep this job. He was good in the beginning of the season when he took no chances, but teams figured them out. Joe Brady has to prove he is more than that one good season at LSU. Find a way to make Darnold work.

The Panthers picked him over Justin Fields and Mac Jones this offseason, and there’s not really a good QB prospect in this draft. So, they really need to see what’s wrong with Darnold. Fixing him will be much easier than finding another new QB.