Panthers’ P.J. Walker ranked No. 25 among NFL’s backup QBs

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The Panthers gave up three draft picks to the Jets for Sam Darnold, who projects to be their starter in the 2021 season. Darnold comes to town with plenty of questions about his game after a rough three-year run in New York, even though he has a lot more help here. Worse, if Darnold continues to struggle or gets injured, it’s not like Carolina has a ready-made backup plan at the sport’s most important position.

P.J. Walker started one game for the Panthers last season while Teddy Bridgewater was out. While he technically earned a win, Walker had little to do with the victory – which featured a shutout for an invigorated defensive unit against a Lions offense playing an injured Matt Stafford. Walker didn’t do much to impress in that one start or his other random reps. At the end of the year, he had five interceptions to go with just one touchdown.

Heading into 2021, it’s only fair to rank him near the bottom of the league’s backup QBs. CBS Sports has him at No. 25:

“Like McSorley, he’s got the legs to keep plays alive, and his brief XFL stardom suggests he’s still got untapped upside. But the 26-year-old former Temple standout lacks power as a passer.”

Walker has athleticism, but his biggest issue appeared to be a relatively slow processing speed – a fatal flaw for many young quarterbacks who star either in college or in lesser professional leagues. As it happens, it’s the same problem that’s plagued QB3 Will Grier during the limited action he’s seen since getting drafted in 2019.

If these two don’t show significant improvement during the preseason, the Panthers should consider replacing one of them with a veteran who can also help Darnold along in his development. Josh McCown should be at the top of that list.

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