3 Most Likely Starting Quarterbacks for Carolina Panthers Next Season
By Larry Rupp
It's safe to say this NFL season has not gone the way the Carolina Panthers were hoping it would. They are quickly falling out of playoff contention and cannot find any sort of stability at the quarterback position with both Sam Darnold and Cam Newton struggling to perform this year.
Many Carolina fans already have their eyes set toward the offseason and whether or not the front office will make a move at QB. With that being said, here are three of the most likely starters for the Panthers in 2022.
Carolina Panthers Quarterback
1. PJ Walker
PJ Walker has now acted as a backup to starting quarterbacks such as Darnold, Newton and Teddy Bridgewater over the last two seasons. He has never been given a true shot to be the No. 1 option despite winning each of his first two NFL starts. That could change in 2022 with another full offseason to work through the playbook. Walker is only 26 and has shown some potential by averaging a reliable 10.7 yards per completion across 10 games played. While he needs to work on his turnover issues, Walker's familiarity with this system cannot be taken for granted. He has the skillset to win a QB competition in training camp.
2. Kenny Pickett
The Panthers could decide to address their QB issue by selecting one early in the 2022 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett has been rising up the rankings after putting together a breakout year with the Panthers. The 23-year-old finished third in the Heisman voting and led his squad to an ACC Championship. Pickett threw 42 touchdowns compared to just 7 interceptions this year and owns a career completion percentage of 62.4%. He seems ready to step in from Day 1 and contribute at the professional level. Simply put, Pickett would easily be Carolina's highest-upside QB option since Newton was in his prime back in the early 2010s.
3. Marcus Mariota
One sneaky option for the Panthers would be grabbing Marcus Mariota in free agency. Mariota has spent the last two seasons backing up Derek Carr in Las Vegas, but has looked poised in his limited action. The 28-year-old has shown he still has the speed to deceive opposing defenses given he has rushed for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 14 carries over the last two seasons. Mariota would likely sign a short-term deal if he has an opportunity to fight for the top spot with Walker this summer. While it may not be the sexiest move, adding Mariota could end up as a great fit for head coach Matt Rhule's offensive system.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.