Panthers face familiar fate in CBS’ post-draft power rankings

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The Carolina Panthers haven’t made a big splash over the past few months, but a bunch of small to medium-sized ones have added up to a pretty refreshing offseason.

We can start with the revamped coaching staff, courtesy of head coach Matt Rhule. From offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to special teams coordinator Chrsis Tabor to the return of secondary coach Steve Wilks and everyone in between, there’s no doubt the team has a bevy of experience behind it going into 2022.

How about the on-field additions? The offensive line is much better off—with sixth overall pick Ikem Ekwonu and free-agent signings Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman in the mix. Plus, they’re prepared to take their own swing at quarterback—and not one on a reclamation project—with third-round selection Matt Corral.

But any excitement about these changes, unfortunately, might be dampened by the fact that Sam Darnold is likely still their starting quarterback. And according to CBS Sports senior writer Pete Prisco, that might be a recipe for a familiar dish.

“There is talk they could still make a move to land Baker Mayfield, but for now it’s Sam Darnold again as their starter,” writes Prisco, who has Carolina at No. 30 in his recent power rankings with projected record of 5-12. “They did draft Matt Corral, but this team isn’t talented enough.”

If Prisco’s prediction is on point, that would be the third straight five-win campaign for Rhule and his Panthers. That would also probably be Rhule’s last five-win season in Carolina, as a 15-35 record over three seasons should result in a ticket straight out of town.

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