Despite possessing one of the biggest needs at the league's premier position, the Carolina Panthers remain in a holding pattern following an NFL offseason of whirlwind quarterback changes. So with the 2022 NFL Draft approaching, it's no surprise Carolina is taking a close look at the incoming crop of QBs.
Liberty QB Malik Willis and Ole Miss QB Matt Corral are both slated to visit the Panthers on Tuesday, NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe reported. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday that Carolina also plans to hold a meeting with Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder. All three prospects have been popular mock-draft candidates for quarterback-needy teams in the first round. Carolina met with UNC's Sam Howell and Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe on Monday and is expected to meet with Pitt's Kenny Pickett this week, as well.
The Panthers were in a similar position last offseason when they traded three draft picks to the Jets for QB Sam Darnold. Darnold performed much as he had through the first three years of his career, showing flashes of quality starter potential but ultimately falling short. The former No. 3 overall pick threw seven TDs to 11 INTs, adding five scores on the ground through nine games before Carolina signed a familiar face in an attempt to add a spark.
With Newton no longer on the roster and Darnold all but assured to remain as a lame duck thanks to an $18.5 million cap hit, the Panthers appear destined to address their quarterback conundrum through the draft this time around.
If Carolina determines that one of the incoming rookies is capable of turning a franchise with four straight losing seasons around, it will have to make that decision with the No. 6 overall pick. The Panthers currently do not have a second opportunity at adding more talent until the fourth round.
NFL draft prospect visits
- The Carolina Panthers are hosting Tennessee wide receiver Velus Jones for a visit on Tuesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
- The Detroit Lions are hosting Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton for a visit on Friday, per Pelissero.
- The Indianapolis Colts will host Jones for a visit on Wednesday, per Rapoport.
- Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins, who was spotted at a Cincinnati Reds game Tuesday with his left arm in a sling, had his labrum repaired in March, but is expected to be ready well before training camp starts, Pelissero reported. Higgins had 1,091 receiving yards and six touchdowns last season for the reigning AFC champions.
- The Atlanta Falcons signed TE Anthony Firkser, the team announced Tuesday.
- The Cleveland Browns announced they have re-signed safety Ronnie Harrison. Harrison started 18 games over the past two seasons for Cleveland.
- Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Chapelle Russell signed an exclusive rights tender, per the transaction wire.
- The Los Angeles Chargers announced the signing of former Rams linebacker Troy Reeder. Reeder started 25 games during his three-year stint with the Rams. Chargers wide receiver Jalen Guyton and tight end Donald Parham signed their exclusive right tenders, per the transaction wire.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer signed a one-year exclusive rights tender.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed defensive lineman Patrick O'Connor, the team announced Tuesday.
- Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook told reporters Tuesday that he plans to wear No. 4 next season, which he sported throughout his collegiate career at Florida State. He wore No. 33 as a member of the Vikings for the last five seasons.