Thursday, May 26, 2022

Panthers GM Scott Fitterer admits considering QB with No. 6 pick: ‘At some point, you have to take a shot’

There’s no secret the Carolina Panthers are seeking to improve at quarterback, especially after the disaster with Sam Darnold and Cam Newton last season. Carolina failed to acquire Deshaun Watson, so the attention turns to free agency and the draft. 

While there aren’t many free agent options to improve their standing at the position, the Panthers may have to take a shot on one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s class. Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer admitted Carolina could be the first domino to fall when it comes to picking a quarterback. 

“This will be interesting because the tackles will be the best players on the board. But we do need a quarterback, and at some point you have to take a shot, especially in the top 10,” Fitterer said, via the Panthers website. “You hate to force it, because when you force it, you could make a mistake.

“It’s a unique quarterback class, because there’s not a clear number one, number two, number three. Like, who’s the proven starter who can come in and play for you? That’ll be the conversation we have for the next month — quarterback or left tackle.”

How desperate are the Panthers at quarterback? Well, Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, or Matt Corral could be a better option than Sam Darnold at this point. Darnold completed 59.9% of his passes for 2,527 yards with nine touchdowns to 13 interceptions for a 71.9 passer rating last season, as the Panthers went 4-7 in his starts. He finished 31st in touchdown passes, 30th in completion percentage, 30th in yards per attempt (6.2), and 31st in passer rating. 

Carolina’s interest in a QB at No. 6 could be a smokescreen, as there are other holes on the roster to fill. But if the Panthers want to gamble and take their franchise quarterback at that spot, it would be hard to fault them. 

Of course, if the quarterback is the right fit…

“Getting the right person with the right makeup with the right skill set for your offense, and having that blend together is key,” Fitterer said on finding a quarterback in this year’s class. “So much of it is what’s around them. You’ve got to be able to protect them.”

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