Analysis: The Panthers have done a lot of things this weekend to make Darnold’s life safer. That’s good news, but it also sheds some light on their quarterback.
By not writing one and choosing Darnold’s fifth-year option, they cast their spell with the Jets’ former first round and tried their best to isolate it. Now it’s up to him to prove that he can become a job and earn that trust. It might not be New York, but there is still a lot of pressure.
For backups, this appears to be the status quo, with no new additions (although they could bring in a test quarterback for the rookie minicamp).
Au programme (12): DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, David Moore, Terrace Marshall, Brandon Zylstra, Keith Kirkwood, Shi Smith, Omar Bayless, Marken Michel, Ventell Bryant, Ishmael Hyman, Micah Simon.
Analysis: The draft of a wide receiver pair gives them a chance to develop young players, as they already had an established starting pair. Anderson being in the final year of his contract, it was important to add there, and the addition of free agent David Moore makes them look different than the late Curtis Samuel. Marshall could make an impact sooner rather than later, and Smith being a true slot machine receiver gives him a chance to stand out.
The competition for the last two places in training camp will be interesting, as they have a number of young leavers who bring different skills. It’s good to have options, and they have a lot of them.
On the list (6+): Dan Arnold, Tommy Tremble, Ian Thomas, Colin Thompson, Giovanni Ricci, Stephen Sullivan.
Analysis: This position is marked with a large asterisk, as Tremble is a difficult player to pin in one role. You may also need to add quarterback Stevens to the mix here sometimes.
For a team that likes versatile players, they have several. Arnold became a red zone threat in Arizona last year. Tremble is part back, part H-back, part blocker, with the possibility of developing as a receiver. Thomas showed previews last year, but the additions to the post might not leave him with many opportunities.
Sur la liste (7): Christian McCaffrey, Chuba Hubbard, Rodney Smith, Trenton Cannon, Reggie Bonnafon, Darius Clark, Spencer Brown.
Analysis: Hubbard’s drafting in the fourth round gives them a new kind of backup for McCaffrey. His sprinting speed gives them a different look than they did with Mike Davis (who left in free agency for Atlanta). If Hubbard can become reliable in the passing game (as a blocker and receiver), he has a chance of being an upgrade.
Smith and Cannon each brought some value last year, and how the unnamed players on this roster McCaffrey contribute to special teams will likely determine who and how many of them make the final roster.
On the list (2): Mikey Daniel, Mason Stokke.
Analysis: Again, Aspen could end up being a factor here, and the team must decide exactly how they want to replace Alex Armah. A few young players will have chances, but it is impossible to know in May if they will keep a traditional full-back on the roster.