The History Of Past Panthers Rookie Quarterbacks

The History Of Past Panthers Rookie Quarterbacks
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The Carolina Panthers have handed the keys of the franchise to Bryce Young after taking the former Alabama QB with the No. 1 overall pick in April's Draft. 

Of note to those keeping tabs on sports betting in North Carolina, Young will be thrown into the fire in Week 1, as new coach Frank Reich wasted no time in naming Young the starter early in training camp. 

You can check how that impacted the Panthers playoff chances here.

Young won't be the first rookie to lead the Panthers, but history says it's been very much a mixed bag in the franchise's relatively short history. took a look back at every rookie QB to start for the Panthers in franchise history, and how they and the team fared. All stats and records come from

Other Rookies Have Largely Struggled

YearPlayerStatsStarter Record
2020PJ Walker1 GS (4), 57.1 Cmp%, 368 Yds, 1 TD, 5 INT1-0
2019Will Grier2 GS (3), 53.8 Cmp%, 228 Yds, 0 TD, 4 INT0-2
2018Kyle Allen1 GS (2), 64.5 Cmp%, 266 Yds, 2 TD, 0 INT1-0
2011Cam Newton16 GS, 60 Cmp%, 4,051 Yds, 21 TD, 17 INT, 706 Rush Yds, 14 Rush TD6-10
2010Jimmy Clausen10 GS (13 G), 52.5 Cmp%, 1,558 Yds, 3 TD, 9 INT1-9
2007Matt Moore3 GS (9 G), 56.8 Cmp%, 730 Yds, 3 TD, 5 INT2-1
2002Randy Fasani1 GS (4 G), 34.1 Cmp%, 171 Yds, 0 TD, 4 INT0-1
2001Chris Weinke15 GS, 54.3 Cmp%, 2,931 Yds, 11 TD, 19 INT, 6 Rush TD1-14
1995Kerry Collins13 GS (15 G), 49.4 Cmp %, 2,717 Yds, 14 TD, 19 INT7-6

MORE: Bryce Young Odds

Cam Newton Far And Away The Best

As the chart above shows, Cam Newton remains the far and away best rookie signal-caller to lead the Panthers, which should be encouraging for Panthers fans as they monitor the best North Carolina sportsbook promos ahead of the season.

Young's situation bears plenty of similarities to Newton. In 2011, the Panthers also took a QB at No. 1 in the draft (Newton) and hired a new head coach in Ron Rivera. While their 6-10 record that season wasn't anything special, it was clear from Week 1 that the Panthers had found their franchise QB. 

Newton at home against the Green Bay Packers became the first rookie to throw for at least 400 yards in his first career game, including two throwing touchdowns and one rushing. Newton would go on to score 34 total touchdowns his rookie season to go with over 4,000 passing yards and over 700 rushing yards. 

Big picture-wise, it was clear Newton would be the leader of the Panthers for years to come, culminating with his MVP season in 2015 and the team's 15-1 season that ended with a Super Bowl loss to the Broncos. 

While Newton's career may have ended earlier than many thought it would have, if Young can come anywhere close to Newton's rookie campaign, the Panthers will again have found a franchise cornerstone.

MORE: A Guide to NFL Betting in North Carolina

Panthers Rookie QB Performances

Before and after Newton, Panthers rookie QBs have, well, very much looked like rookies. Original draft pick Kerry Collins did show flahses in their inaugural 1995 season, actually coming off the bench to replace then-starter Frank Reich. Collins managed to go 7-6 as a starter, a fine mark for a rookie, but threw 5 more interceptions than touchdowns. 

Chris Weinke's lone season as a starter was a disaster, as the Florida State product went 1-14. Former Notre Dame product Jimmy Clausen also authored a pedestrian rookie campaign, going 1-9 in 2010 (which, in his defense, enabled the Panthers to then draft Newton!)

Other future journeymen Matt Moore, PJ Walker, and Kyle Allen also failed to make much of a mark in the Queen City before moving on to other teams.

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Thomas Leary

Thomas Leary is a senior editor for He previously worked at Sports Business Journal.

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