In the realm of professional sports, the quarterback position often commands the spotlight, with star players like Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady captivating audiences with their heroics. However, behind every dazzling superstar, there lies a cadre of talented individuals waiting for their chance to shine. In the case of the Carolina Panthers, one such player is P.J. Walker, a quarterback who has shown glimpses of brilliance but has yet to secure a starting role. In this article, we delve into the reasons why Walker remains on the sidelines, exploring the factors that have prevented him from taking the reins as the Panthers' starting quarterback.

Walker's Journey to the NFL

P.J. Walker's football journey began at Temple University, where he showcased his exceptional athleticism and leadership qualities. As a senior in 2016, he threw for 2,820 yards and 21 touchdowns, leading the Owls to a 10-3 record. Despite his impressive collegiate career, Walker went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, forcing him to embark on a circuitous path to the professional ranks. He spent time with several teams, including the Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, and Philadelphia Eagles, before finally landing with the Panthers in 2020.

Showcasing Promise as a Backup

In Carolina, Walker has primarily served as a backup quarterback, learning from veteran signal-callers Cam Newton and Teddy Bridgewater. Despite his limited playing time, he has demonstrated his potential when given the opportunity. In 2021, Walker started three games in place of the injured Bridgewater, completing 64.5% of his passes for 753 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions. He also rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, showcasing his dual-threat ability.

Obstacles to Walker's Starting Role

Despite his impressive performances as a backup, several factors have prevented Walker from becoming the Panthers' starting quarterback.

Experience and Consistency

One of the primary challenges Walker faces is his lack of extensive starting experience. With only three career starts, he has not had the opportunity to establish himself as a reliable and consistent leader under center. Furthermore, his limited playing time has hindered his ability to develop chemistry with the team's receivers and build a rapport with the offensive line.

Competition from Established Quarterbacks

Another obstacle Walker faces is the presence of established quarterbacks on the Panthers' roster. Sam Darnold, a former first-round pick, has been given the starting nod in recent seasons, despite his own struggles with consistency. Additionally, the Panthers signed Baker Mayfield, a former Heisman Trophy winner and Pro Bowler, in the offseason, further complicating Walker's path to the starting lineup.

Offensive Scheme and Play Calling

The Panthers' offensive scheme, which emphasizes the running game and short-to-intermediate passing, may not be the ideal fit for Walker's skill set. His strengths lie in his mobility and deep-ball accuracy, which are not fully utilized in the current offensive system. Additionally, the play-calling has often been conservative, limiting Walker's opportunities to showcase his full potential.

Looking Ahead: Walker's Future in Carolina

Despite the challenges he faces, P.J. Walker remains a talented and determined quarterback with the potential to succeed as a starter in the NFL. If given the opportunity, he could thrive in an offensive system that better suits his strengths and allows him to operate more freely. Whether that opportunity comes with the Panthers or another team remains to be seen, but Walker's journey is far from over. With his unwavering resilience and undeniable talent, he is poised to make his mark on the league and prove that he deserves a chance to lead an NFL offense.


P.J. Walker's quest to become a starting quarterback in the NFL has been met with numerous obstacles, from limited starting experience and stiff competition to an offensive scheme that may not be the best fit for his skill set. However, his impressive performances as a backup and his unwavering determination suggest that he has the potential to succeed as a starter. As he continues to hone his skills and learn from his experiences, Walker remains a player to watch in the coming years. Whether he eventually takes the reins in Carolina or finds success elsewhere, his journey is sure to be captivating and inspiring.


  1. Why hasn't P.J. Walker been named the starting quarterback for the Panthers?

    • Walker has faced several obstacles, including his lack of extensive starting experience, competition from established quarterbacks, and an offensive scheme that may not suit his skill set.
  2. What are Walker's strengths as a quarterback?

    • Walker possesses excellent mobility and deep-ball accuracy, making him a potential threat in the passing game.
  3. What are the weaknesses in Walker's game that he needs to improve?

    • Walker needs to improve his consistency, decision-making, and ability to manage the game effectively.
  4. Could Walker succeed as a starting quarterback in the NFL?

    • With the right opportunity and a scheme that fits his strengths, Walker has the potential to be a successful starting quarterback in the NFL.
  5. What is the future outlook for Walker in Carolina?

    • Walker's future in Carolina is uncertain, as he faces stiff competition from other quarterbacks on the roster. However, he remains a talented player with the potential to make a significant impact if given the chance.



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