Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule is adamant the quarterback position is subject to a battle between former 2018 top-10 picks, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield. The two signal-callers have been splitting reps with the first-team offense during training camp.
Before arriving, word out of camp was that Mayfield and Darnold are close in terms of performance. That could not have been further from the truth during Wednesday’s Panthers practice. Darnold started 7-on-7 drills working to score. Unfortunately, his processing was on the slower side, forcing missed opportunities and inaccurate passes. He was not able to locate the open receiver quickly—luckily the drill is performed without a pass rush. This makes his lateness even worse from an evaluation and optics standpoint.
There was a clear shift of energy and confidence when Mayfield ran the Panthers offense. He quickly processed coverages, located his open receiver, and drilled passes to his target. The narrative that Mayfield does not have a “top-64 arm in the NFL” is DEAD! That was not true then and isn’t true now.
Baker Mayfield has been precise in 7v7 so far. Being in person, you get to appreciate his arm talent. Ball pops off his arm with ease.
— Full-Time Dame 💰 (@DP_NFL) August 3, 2022
During the 11-on-11 scrimmages, Darnold continued to struggle to make quick decisions, leading to longer drives downfield. Mayfield was not perfect but he generates bigger plays in the passing game. His arm strength and sheer confidence shined during practice. At this moment, the Panthers QB battle seems a bit one-sided and this sentiment was vocalized by local media that have seen every practice rep available.
I will be attending Panthers camp on Friday and Saturday morning, with the team being in full pads. Again, I will have more takeaways and reactions to those practices.
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