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Christian McCaffrey Fully On Board With Sam Darnold, Calls Him ‘Incredible Talent’

Christian McCaffrey is back on the field after missing most of the 2020 season with ankle and shoulder injuries. This year at the Panthers’ OTAs, he won’t see Cam Newton or Teddy Bridgewater lining up next to him in the backfield.

Now it will be Sam Darnold, the former No. 3 overall pick by the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft. So what does McCaffrey think about the change? According to Darin Gantt with the team’s official website, the Stanford product is fully on board with it.

“I’ve gotten to know him really well in the last few months,” McCaffrey said, via Panthers.com. “Just getting together, throwing with him and hanging out off the field. He’s an incredible talent and incredible teammate already, so I’m super excited for him …

“I think he’ll fit in great. Already fits in great.”

Even though he played with Le’Veon Bell for a short period, Darnold has never had a running back who can take pressure off of him like McCaffrey can. Bell, while fantastic for the Steelers, was a shell of his former self in New York, and it showed.

Apparently, McCaffrey and Darnold are already getting just fine though, which is a great sign.

“He’s very laid back, but he’s definitely a leader too,” McCaffrey said of Darnold. “And he knows when to put his foot down when he needs to and be a leader when he needs to. I think that’s something that makes all quarterbacks great.

“Just demanding attention to detail, demanding a sharp practice, demanding a sense of urgency. That all starts with every individual, but the quarterback touches the ball every play. So if he shows it, then everybody else will rally behind it.”

Carolina still has the reigning Super Bowl champions in its division. But now that Drew Brees has retired and Julio Jones wants out of Atlanta, the Panthers have an opportunity to stake a claim for a top-2 spot in the NFC South.

A lot of that will be determined by two things: 1) McCaffrey’s health and 2) Darnold’s transition and development. It’s still early, but so far, so good.

Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and TideSports.com.

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