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Baker Mayfield named Panthers starting QB

Baker Mayfield was named Panthers starting quarterback, beating out Sam Darnold for the job.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers quarterback competition is over and we have a winner: Baker Mayfield. 

The former No. 1 overall draft pick and Heisman winner will be the Panthers' starting quarterback in Week 1 against Cleveland, Matt Rhule announced Monday. Sam Darnold and PJ Walker are Mayfield's backups, with rookie Matt Corral expected to miss significant time due to a foot injury. 

"When we started the process, we were looking at three things," Rhule said on Panthers.com. "Number one, mastery of the offense, number two, situational football excellence, and number three, moving the ball and getting guys involved. That's been our focus all along."

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Mayfield joined the Panthers in July after being traded from Cleveland. He quickly settled into the rotation, taking first-team snaps through training camp. He started the team's preseason opener at Washington. He and Darnold both sat out last Friday's game at New England after throwing a lot during joint practices with the Patriots. 

"Baker has made a lot of improvement, a lot of growth in all three areas in a short amount of time," Rhule said. 

The Panthers host the Buffalo Bills Friday in the preseason finale before hosting the Browns at Bank of America Stadium in Week 1 of the regular season. 

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