Few, if any NFL teams have as glaring a need at quarterback as the Carolina Panthers. Although this year's prospect crop isn't particularly deep, they'll have to at least consider investing their No. 6 draft pick on the prized position.
According to The MMQB's Albert Breer, the Panthers are arranging visits with six quarterbacks from this year's draft class.
Liberty's Malik Willis, Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett, Ole Miss's Matt Corral, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder, UNC's Sam Howell, and Western Kentucky's Bailey Zappe will all meet with the NFC South squad in Carolina next week.
Per Darin Gantt of Panthers.com, general manager Scott Fitterer discussed the possibility of taking someone from a "unique quarterback class" without any undisputed top options. However, he didn't sound particularly enthused about doing so.
"This will be interesting because the tackles will be the best players on the board," Fitterer said. "But we do need a quarterback, and at some point you have to take a shot, especially in the top 10. You hate to force it, because when you force it, you could make a mistake."
On this day last year, the Panthers sent the New York Jets a 2021 sixth-round pick and a second and fourth in 2022 for Sam Darnold. He didn't improve away from Adam Gase as many expected, instead posting a 71.9 quarterback rating with nine passing touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games.
As a result, the Panthers are still searching for an answer under center. After the sixth pick, they won't have another opportunity to take a quarterback until pick No. 137 on Day 3.
That could pressure them to reach for one of those quarterbacks in the first round. If not, Carolina can still attempt to acquire Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo and draft a long-term option next year.