Top NFL Insider unveils disappointing report for ex-USC QB Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold, USC Football, USC Trojans
Sam Darnold, USC Football, USC Trojans / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Former USC football QB Sam Darnold has reportedly lost the starting QB competition on his NFL team, the Carolina Panthers. The Athletic's NFL National Insider Jeff Howe has reported that Baker Mayfield will be the Week 1 starter. Darnold will be starting the preseason game this week, but Howe reports that the Panthers will name Mayfield the starter.

This is likely the wrong move, as Darnold truly has never even had the chance to prove himself as a QB in this league. His rookie year, he was working with not only arguably the worst offensive line in football, but arguably the worst supporting cast as a whole in football (the New York Jets). He also had Todd Bowles as his head coach, who was a massive failure in New York.

The next year, the offensive line and supporting cast was no better, and he somehow downgraded to the consensus worst head coach in football in Adam Gase. The next year, he still had Gase and had an even worse supporting cast around him. He finally went to the Panthers where he could hopefully be in a better situation for Year 4, but that proved to not be the case.

Darnold's Offensive Coordinator (Joe Brady) was so bad that he got fired mid-year. His head coach, Matt Rhule, is already on the hot seat. The offensive line in Carolina was no better than the one he had in New York, and the elite weapon he was finally given for once in his career (Christian McCaffrey) went down to injury in the third game of the season.

Legendary USC Football QB Sam Darnold balled out of control before McCaffrey went down.

Ex-USC Football Rose Bowl-winning Quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 888 passing yards before McCaffrey went down, and scored six total touchdowns to just one interception. It's clear that even when Darnold can even just get somewhat of a competent supporting cast, he can have success.

Sure, he had awful coaching and perhaps the worst offensive line in football, but all it took was one special playmaker behind him to provide a QB with the support he needs. As for Mayfield, however, he's already proven that he can't have success with elite surroundings.

That's because he comes from a situation where he had a Coach of the Year in Kevin Stefanski, an elite offensive line, two elite RBs (Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt), an elite WR that he drove out of town in Odell Beckham Jr., another very good receiver in Jarvis Landry, two standout tight end talents in Austin Hooper and David Njoku, and a defense oozing with talent.

The fact that he has finished with a QB record above .500 the same amount of times that Darnold has despite Darnold inheriting the worst overall situation any QB has while he's been in the league speaks to how Darnold should be getting another shot to try to prove himself.

Besides, Carolina had the chance to change quarterbacks last season when Darnold was hurt for five games, and the one they brought in (Cam Newton) didn't win a single game as a starter and put up significantly worse stats. The Panthers already tried replacing Darnold with a literal former MVP, and failed. Newton is no longer signed to anybody at this point.

Clearly, the QB was far from the only problem in Carolina last year. It's also intriguing because Darnold outperformed Mayfield in the first preseason game. He went two for three and was the only QB on the roster who threw a touchdown pass. Mayfield completed just four of his seven passes.

If this report is true, it would be disappointing, but perhaps not the end for Darnold's career. Earlier in the offseason, Darnold suggested that there may be something the general public doesn't know about the interest others in the league may have with him:

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"And I know there's a team, if something happens, that would want me," said Darnold.