Panthers' David Tepper: 'I Do Think We Have a Very Good QB in Sam Darnold'

Adam WellsApril 27, 2022

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 9: Carolina Panthers Quarterback Sam Darnold (14) looks for an open receiver during the regular season game between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 9, 2022 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One week after offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo gave Sam Darnold a vote of confidence, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper also spoke out in favor of the 24-year-old quarterback. 

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Tepper brought up Darnold when asked which quarterbacks in the 2022 draft are capable of getting the team to a Super Bowl. 

"I do want to say one thing. I do think we have a very good quarterback in Sam Darnold," Tepper said. "That wasn't your question, but I'll just say that."

McAdoo enthusiastically proclaimed Darnold the starter for 2022 at a press conference last week but walked it back moments later. 

"That wasn't something I should have said," McAdoo told reporters

The Panthers have been one of the most-talked about teams leading up to the draft. Their only pick in the first two days is at No. 6 overall. They traded their second- and fourth-round picks to the New York Jets last year to acquire Darnold. 

Carolina dealt its third-round pick during the 2021 season to acquire C.J. Henderson in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Its second pick this year is No. 137 overall in the fourth round.    

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Tuesday on SportsCenter that the Panthers "would love" to trade back from No. 6 to add picks "and still get a quarterback either in the teens or somewhere later in the first round."

Fowler cited Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett as a player the Panthers like. They believe he fits McAdoo's system and can play right away. 

Carolina has been speculated as post-draft trade destinations for Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo. The team was one of four finalists for Deshaun Watson before he was traded to the Cleveland Browns. 

Darnold is entering the final season of his rookie contract. The Panthers exercised the fifth year on his deal after acquiring him. He threw for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 appearances during the 2021 campaign.