Sam Darnold is still a starting QB. Or, at least, he was for a moment. At a press conference on April 19, new Panthers offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was asked if he would still look at Sam Darnold as his starting quarterback next year.
He gave a firm, committed answer, when he said, "Sam is our starting quarterback, yes."
Moments later, within the same press conference, McAdoo appeared to change his tune.
"That wasn't something I should have said," Panthers OC Ben McAdoo a short while later.
Talk about instantly regretting your decision.
Darnold is about to enter his fifth season in the NFL, and thus far, he has been anything but impressive. He finished last season with a 4-7 record in 11 starts and a total QBR of 33.2, only finishing ahead of rookies Justin Fields and Zach Wilson among qualified signal callers. Darnold's best season in terms of QBR was in his rookie year, when he finished with a score of 45.9 and was still just good enough for 29th out of 33 qualified quarterbacks.
And yet, teams are still struggling with the idea that it may be too early to give up on him completely. He IS just 24 years old. Then again, so is Kyler Murray.
If not Sam Darnold, then who?
The Panthers are clearly unhappy with Darnold's performance. It's part of the reason they attempted to revive Cam Newton's career late last season. That made the idea of McAdoo confirming Darnold as the starting QB all the more strange.
Moments later, when he walked back those comments, speculation began again surrounding who the Panthers might potentially target instead. At this point in the off-season, the Panthers have been linked to every QB in the draft class, including Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo.
At least, one of their players expressed his disinterest in bringing Baker to Charlotte, but that hasn't stopped media pundits from linking the two parties together.
This year, the Panthers have the number six pick in the NFL Draft. It has been specualted that they use this pick to add a quarterback. The top three prospects are Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis and Matt Corral.
With the NFL draft just eight days away, it seems like no one really knows who's going to be behind center for the Panthers next year, not even the OC.