This is the seventh in a series of position-by-position looks at the Panthers as they prepare for the first day of training camp practice on July 29.
There have been several times in the last nine years when it's become clear that the Carolina Panthers waited too long to address problems.
But when they make a point of fixing something, they're willing to throw resources at it until it stays fixed.
The lingering memory of their 2005 NFC Championship Game loss was the way they simply ran out of running backs, so they used two of their next three first-rounders on DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
Likewise, when they decided to move on from the QB Jake Delhomme era, they moved on with force.
Delhomme's play over his first six seasons enabled the Panthers to win a lot of games, and work on other areas of the roster. But when he went south beginning with his 2008 playoff collapse, it became evident there wasn't much in the pipeline, at least much they believed in.
Now, the Panthers have four legitimate young prospects, giving them choices and possibilities they've never enjoyed.
First and foremost, it should be pointed out that the starting job this year belongs to Matt Moore, so long as he doesn't spit the bit.
Moore has played well in short spurts (6-2 as an NFL starter, and winner of 14 of his last 17 starts going back to Oregon State).
What he hasn't done is perform under the pressure of expectations, or been game-planned against extensively.
Some of the things he does well might be more easily negated now that there's tape on him, and opponents have had an offseason rather than days to dissect his game.
On the other hand, some of the things about his game are tailor-made for this offense, and this situation.
He throws a nice deep ball, with plenty of arm strength to reach downfield targets. He's also comfortable with what's going on here, having been learning for three years.
But perhaps most importantly, he's cool. Not to sound flip, but that'll matter as soon as Jimmy Clausen arrives and speculation begins full-bore about the future of the job.
Not much bothers Moore, to his credit. He's survived his whirlwind rookie year (from Dallas to Charlotte to being passed by Vinny Testaverde), and his thrown-into-the-fire intro last season. He meets most news with an easy shrug and a grin, and if the job's too big for him it's hard to tell by looking at him.
But it's also hard to forget the lack of trust some here had in him prior to last December. As poorly as Delhomme played in 2009, there was never any apparent movement to replace him. More of that had to do with Delhomme's track record than Moore's, but it's worth noting that the same people are making decisions now.
Clausen's arrival did little to stem that speculation, though he'd be best served to watch and adapt to the NFL game for a moment.
As ready made as a prospect can be, there's still a tremendous difference in the college and pro game, and few are ready for it immediately.
Clausen has many things going in his favor: He's got an accurate arm, he's smart and has shown toughness. He lacks the deep ball of Moore, but rarely threw the wrong pass at Notre Dame.
Is he a leader? Is he mature? We'll find out over the next few weeks. There's time for the Panthers to make those decisions.
But mostly, his arrival signals that they're serious about adding talent at the position ignored for so long.
GM Marty Hurney has long eschewed "name" quarterbacks, but at 48th overall, Clausen was hard to bypass.
Coupled with Moore, they think they have two good ones, with more potential behind them.
Hunter Cantwell, the guy who's worked ahead of Clausen all spring, has a huge arm, and a quiet command of the system.
Tony Pike, the other draft pick, is more of an intangibles guy at the moment, showing the kind of leadership skills that had folks thinking of him as a "young Jake" for all the good reasons. They're developmental guys, and despite some pinches at other positions, it's conceivable that the Panthers could keep all four rather than risk losing one when rosters are cut to 53.
It's an interesting mix, and will be fascinating to watch develop in camp.
That is, in large part, because there's more than one guy to watch this year.
— Darin Gantt