NFL Rumors: Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, More QBs Set for Panthers Visit

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 5, 2022

Liberty quarterback Malik Willis throws during the school's pro football day for NFL scouts and coaches, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Lynchburg, Va. (AP Photo/Kendall Warner)
AP Photo/Kendall Warner

The Carolina Panthers are planning to perform their due diligence when it comes to the top quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL draft class.

The MMQB's Albert Breer reported Tuesday the Panthers are planning to invite a group of signal-callers to Charlotte, North Carolina, next week:

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Source: The Panthers are having QBs Malik Willis (Liberty), Kenny Pickett (Pitt), Matt Corral (Ole Miss), Desmond Ridder (Cincinnati), Sam Howell (UNC), and Bailey Zappe (Western Kentucky) in to Charlotte next week for 30 visits.<br><br>Visits will be staggered from Monday-Wednesday.

Carolina will be on the board at No. 6 overall for its only pick in the first three rounds.

Taking a quarterback figures to be among the options in play because Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker are the only signal-callers on the roster. Trading for Darnold was a flop in 2021, as the 24-year-old threw for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 appearances.

The question for the Panthers is whether targeting a quarterback at No. 6 will be the best course of action.

There isn't a standout QB prospect in this year's class, nor is there much strength in depth. Coming out of the NFL Scouting Combine, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder (No. 16) and Liberty's Malik Willis (No. 47) were the only quarterbacks ranked in the top 50 overall on Bleacher Report's big board.

However, the importance of the position is bound to trump what value a team could find in the early stages of the first round. In B/R's most recent mock draft, Willis landed with the Detroit Lions at No. 2 overall.

The Panthers were projected to take North Carolina State offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu.

As much as an upgrade for Darnold is needed, Carolina allowed 52 sacks and ranked 27th in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. Without improvements to the offensive line, it might not matter much who's lining up under center.