As draft day looms just two days away, silly season has kicked off with the Panthers 8th pick. Just days after trading for 3-year veteran QB Sam Darnold, many are calling for Carolina to double down and take a QB again on day one of the draft.
While on the face of it this may seem to make sense, does taking a QB with the Panthers 8th pick actually make any kind of real sense? While the Darnold trade didn’t cost too much, adding a QB ostensibly to start in 2021 and then drafting another QB seems a waste of resources.
PANTHERS 8TH PICK TOO VALUABLE?
In a year when we’re hearing most teams want to trade down, how do you create value for your pick to be a target? Well the simplest way is to put yourself in the most scarce market out there: the starting QB market.
So the Panthers have sewn up their starter for 2021 by trading for Sam Darnold. So to strengthen their trading down options the Panthers, cleverly, start to send out the signals that they may not be settling on Darnold just yet.
Rolling out GM Scott Fitterer to say this about quarterbacks: “We have a strong plan in place. There’s actually several that we’re excited about.”
“I believe in bringing in the best players that can fit your team, create competition and upgrade your roster. So whether it’s a quarterback, a corner, it doesn’t matter. It’s how do they fit our team, what’s the path for success and what’s our plan.”
It’s really smart, but does it pass the sniff test? Not really, and here’s why.
This is a team that went 5-11 in 2020, heck that’s why the Panthers 8th pick is on the table in the first place. The Panthers ranked 24th for points scoring, and 18th for points conceded. This is a team will many holes along both lines, wide receiver, and corner.
While a QB is obviously the most important position in football, you don’t want to use two picks in 2022 and a pick in 2021 unless you have to. So adding Darnold makes no sense if you then WANT to draft a QB. If you’re not sold on Darnold you wait until after the draft when his price would’ve been even lower.
As we have already discussed on this site, the Darnold trade was an odd one from a timing standpoint with the shakedown looking like a QB would be available with the Panthers 8th pick. So now the team floats the idea of still taking a QB simply because it adds value to the trade options.
Suddenly teams that want a QB have to contend with the possibility Carolina step in. So why not trade with them and remove that obstacle.
It’s smart from Scott Fitterer, but don’t be buying this option. #smokescreenseason exists for a reason. But it’s good to see the Panthers 8th pick being used wisely. Draft back and get back some of that draft capital used in the Sam Darnold trade.