Carolina Panthers' 53-man roster projection all about Sam Darnold stepping up

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers opened training camp on July 27 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The Panthers finished the 2020 season 5-11, good for last place in the NFC South. They have not reached the playoffs since the 2017 season when they lost a wild-card game. The Panthers return 12 starters from last season's team as well as second-year head coach Matt Rhule and coordinators Joe Brady (offense), Phil Snow (defense) and Chase Blackburn (special teams).

Here's a 53-man roster projection:

QUARTERBACK (3): Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, Will Grier

The Panthers got Darnold from the Jets before shipping last year's starter, Teddy Bridgewater, to Denver and picking up Darnold's fifth-year 2022 option. I'm still not convinced Darnold, the 2018 No. 3 overall pick, can turn his career around or that Grier will be on the roster as the third quarterback at the end of camp.