Panthers HC Matt Rhule Preaching Patience With QBs

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While it was assumed the Carolina Panthers were eager to draft a quarterback — and head coach Matt Rhule hasn’t ruled it out — he also pointed out it isn’t an assumption everyone should be eager to make.

“Part of this process has been really evaluating the trade market, and evaluating the draft; see who all is there,” Rhule said Tuesday, per’s Darin Gantt. “I think we will be aggressive in every sense of the word, as we have been. Just try to make sure we make as good a decision as we can.”

Gantt reports the widely accepted idea the team is drafting a quarterback is based on a number of factors — the Panthers currently have two QBs on the roster, and one of them is Sam Darnold and his $18.9 million guaranteed contract for the year. They also have backup P.J. Walker. Both are out of contract after the 2022 season.

The trade market isn’t as full of talent as it has been in previously years, and Gantt reports there are few alternatives who look better than a lottery ticket.

The team saw the top three prospects: Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, and Matt Corral. When asked if any of those three deserved to be a top 10 pick, Rhule said, “I think one of those quarterbacks will be a top 10 pick.

“I just think anytime in the top 10, when you reach for a position, whatever the position is, you can look back in a couple of years and say, ‘Man, that was a bad decision,'” Rhule said. “I think when you take a guy in the top 10 in the first round, you have to be really sure that they’re going to be a good player. That being said, it’s such a long process. It’s literally up to the day of the draft. Every new bit of information you get changes and skews your viewpoint. So we’re just trying to be diligent about being blindfolded and looking at the information, not based on our needs, but based on who’s what, where do they go. If we do that, I think we’ll make a good decision.”

But it seems like he has faith in Darnold and new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

“I think Sam’s going to play significantly improved football,” Rhule said.

Matt Rhule
Head coach Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers takes the field before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 28, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Gantt reports the team is eventually going to be looking for a long-term answer at the position and will be forced to consider these other options, like younger QBs.

“I think when you take a rookie quarterback, recent history has shown, save for a couple examples, they’re going to need some time,” Rhule said. “So I think any time you draft a player, you say to yourself, ‘Who’s he going to be the first year, who’s he going to be in the third year?’

“As a league, we kind of rush the quarterbacks, we want to play them as rookies, and it’s hard for them. But with quarterbacks, you have to say to yourself, who are they going to be in two years, three years? If you’re smart, don’t rush them, don’t break them early, get them to the point of going out there with the tools to be successful. I think that’s what we’re looking for with everyone we’re looking at. Last year, this year, who can be a franchise quarterback? Who can win a Super Bowl? Ultimately, that’s what you’re looking for at every position. Can we win the Super Bowl with this person?”

Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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