Carolina Panthers: Sam Darnold + Kenny Pickett
Are we all ready to say we’re approaching the end of the line for Sam Darnold in terms of his chances to be an undisputed starter?
I think it’s safe to say the Panthers’ trade for Darnold is now a regrettable move in hindsight at best and a crippling move for Matt Rhule at worst over the long-term.
If Rhule and the Panthers do not get the QB position figured out in 2022, I have a feeling Rhule will be on the radar for a bunch of college football programs as their head coach in 2023.
One of the most popular mock draft pairings right now, and for good reason, is Kenny Pickett with the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers are currently slated to pick 6th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, and that is prime real estate to take the first QB off the board this year. The teams picking ahead of them: Jaguars, Lions, Texans, Jets, and Giants, in that order.
The Texans and Giants are the only two teams on that list that make a lot of sense to take a quarterback early on, so the Panthers stand a pretty good chance of sticking at their spot and landing a guy like Kenny Pickett, who once committed to play for Matt Rhule at Temple.
Now, Rhule will have the opportunity to make sure Pickett plays for him. Maybe the Panthers will even trade up to make sure Pickett stays a Panther, going from the Pitt program to the NFL.
I think the Panthers will still hold on to Darnold for another year, but he’s going to have to really fight for his job.