This offseason, the Carolina Panthers have been talked about with virtually each doable quarterback — from Deshaun Watson to Matthew Stafford to Trey Lance to Mac Jones.
For a workforce that has not dedicated to Teddy Bridgewater being the longer term and is open to exploring all choices — like extending a suggestion to Dwayne Haskins — the subsequent step at the place is without doubt one of the most intriguing story traces of the Panthers’ offseason.
A day after the 2020 season got here to a shut, coach Matt Rhule was requested about he is searching for in a franchise-type quarterback.
He talked about not turning the ball over, making the folks round him higher and having success on third down.
But this week, with the Panthers workers teaching at the Senior Bowl, Rhule was requested once more what he is searching for in a quarterback, and he acquired a bit extra particular.
“Just in general, I think you want someone who’s elitely intelligent. I think you want someone who’s a tremendous leader,” Rhule mentioned. “I think you want someone who’s accurate. I think you want someone who has arm talent to make all the throws. And I think you want someone who has a history of making plays in crucial situations, that’s just very urgent.”
“… I think a lot is made sometimes about quarterbacks coming into the league and failing. But usually, a lot of times they go to poor organizations without a lot of talent around them.”
While the pinnacle coach mentioned a number of instances he was talking generically, it’s arduous to not join that final half with Bridgewater, who went 0-8 in 2020 in game-winning or tying conditions. Having expertise across the quarterbacks is notable, as properly. In many situations which have been proposed concerning trades for a few of the prime quarterbacks obtainable, a number of first-round picks for a participant like Watson can be required, in addition to a participant like Panthers operating again Christian McCaffrey.
For a workforce that has 4 of 5 beginning offensive linemen set to hit free company and large receiver Curtis Samuel at the moment heading in that course as properly — and that’s all earlier than mentioning the necessity for a pass-catching tight finish — giving up belongings is problematic. The Panthers can be transferring on from expertise to assist whoever is taking part in quarterback in making a large free-agent transfer. That’s clearly one thing Rhule has in thoughts. Cost and impact.
But there’s additionally the potential for drafting a quarterback. While the Panthers have the eighth total decide in the draft, new basic supervisor Scott Fitterer mentioned the workforce may transfer up or down with that choice.
Down in Mobile, Alabama, Rhule and the offensive workers are working with three younger quarterbacks: Alabama’s Jones, Wake Forest/Georgia’s Jamie Newman and Texas A&M’s Kellan Mond.
After a combined day Tuesday, Jones spent additional time on the sector after follow regardless of most of his teammates strolling off and regarded sharp in Wednesday’s follow. He appeared extra snug and even had a spectacular throw and catch to Georgia tight finish Tre’ McKitty that elicited a gasp from the group.
“The guy was just playing two weeks ago (in the national championship). The fact that he’s here I think speaks a lot about who he is,” Rhule mentioned about Jones. “He processes information quickly, highly intelligent, he’s an alpha. He’s the first guy on the practice field, he’s the first guy in the running, so he’s got a lot of really, really, really strong traits.”
Jones got here into the week as the highest quarterback at the Senior Bowl, doubtlessly a fringe Day 1 decide, and will have helped his case Wednesday. A pep speak from Alabama head coach Nick Saban previous to follow couldn’t have harm.
Another quarterback who has had some optimistic momentum is Newman, who opted out of what would have been his first season at Georgia. Newman, like a number of different gamers at the Senior Bowl, hasn’t performed soccer for a number of months, and even over a yr in many instances. He threw a couple of interceptions Wednesday, and regarded much less snug, however had some good performs Tuesday.
“Being smart. He works really hard at it. He throws a good ball, he’s athletic,” Rhule mentioned of his first impressions of Newman. “Everything I’ve seen from Jamie’s been really good. … For a guy that’s been out for a year, you don’t really see somebody that looks too rusty.”
Consistency is a matter, and Rhule did say Wednesday morning he was wanting ahead to seeing how he was capable of push the ball downfield, however that didn’t go properly throughout follow later that day.
It’s a lengthy offseason, and the Panthers can be related to a number of gamers for months to come back. Making a large splash would additionally transfer the rebuild timeline. You would possibly ask Rhule once more in two weeks what he’s searching for and get one other perspective. There’s not one set reply proper now. It can be as much as Fitterer and Rhule to attempt to discover a participant someplace who suits the imaginative and prescient finest.