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Panthers QB Sam Darnold was NFL’s worst deep passer in 2021

Just this past Friday, Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar gave us the details on how, um, not effective Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold is on two particular throws—ones stemming off three-step drops and pre-snap motions.

Well, we can add another type to the list.

Bryant Horn of Pro Football Focus ranked last season’s 32 starting quarterbacks based off deep ball performance. And Darnold, not surprisingly given his rough 2021 (as well as the tone of this post), is positioned in dead last at No. 32.

“Darnold completed only 27.5% of his 20-plus-yard pass attempts and ranked last in passer rating (42.5%),” Horn writes. “His 40 attempts resulted in only 368 yards.”

The next closest quarterback to that passer rating, at least amongst the 32 primary starters, was Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Trevor Lawrence at 46.4. Then, the next closest to Darnold and Lawrence, was Chicago Bears rookie Justin Fields at 62.9. So, yeah, yikes!

Additionally, since we’re on the topic of being last, the Panthers were tied for last in big play passes (completions of at least 25 yards) with just 18 and second-to-last in explosive pass rate (six percent), according to Sharp Football Analytics.

To be fair, 2021 was an especially grotesque year for the Carolina offense—which went through two offensive coordinators, three starting quarterbacks and 12 different starting offensive lines. But, in staying fair, Darnold still has to take some sort of step forward in 2022—not only for his team, but for the sake of his immediate future in the NFL.

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