The 1980 Oakland Raiders entered the season with Dan Pastorini

Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold have a chance to do something no pair of quarterbacks has done in 42 years.

If both Mayfield and Darnold play a snap for the Carolina Panthers at some point this season, they'll be the first quarterbacks picked in the top three of the same draft to play for the same team in one season since Jim Plunkett and Dan Pastorini did so for the then-Oakland Raiders in 1980, per Elias Sports and ESPN.

That year, Plunkett took the Raiders all the way to a Super Bowl XV win after taking over when Pastorini broke his leg in Week 5. Pastorini started the first five games of the regular season after being traded from the Houston Oilers before the 1980 season, while Plunkett had been the Raiders' backup since 1978.

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Plunkett and Pastorini were both members of the 1971 draft class: Plunkett went No. 1 to the then-Boston Patriots while Pastorini was drafted No. 3 by the Oilers.

Plunkett was traded twice over the next nine years before landing with the Raiders as a backup and retiring there in 1986 with two Super Bowl rings (he won his second in 1983). After nine solid seasons with the Oilers, Pastorini was traded to the Raiders for Ken Stabler in 1980. He only last a year in Oakland, though, and only played two more seasons in the NFL — seven games for the Los Angeles Rams in 1980 and three games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1983.

The situation that landed both Mayfield and Darnold in Carolina is similar to the Raiders', but the Panthers would be lucky to enjoy the same fate.

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Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold in Carolina
A little more than four years ago, Mayfield and Darnold were taken with the Nos. 1 and 3 picks in the 2018 draft by the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets. But the Jets traded Darnold to the Panthers in 2021 after three bad seasons in New York, while the Browns moved Mayfield for a conditional fifth-round pick after acquiring Deshaun Watson this offseason.

Darnold didn't enjoy a good debut season in Carolina in 2021. He went 4-7 as a starter, missed five games with a shoulder injury, threw 13 interceptions to just nine touchdowns and was benched twice. He remains the Panthers' starter — for now — but Mayfield could easily supplant him in training camp.

While Darnold floundered in New York, Mayfield actually progressed as a quarterback during his stretch in Cleveland. In 2020, Mayfield led the Browns to their first playoff win since 1994 and only threw eight interceptions that season. A shoulder injury derailed his 2021 season, though, and the Browns struggled once more before trading a king's random and paying a king's fee for Watson.

What happens next is up to Darnold and Mayfield, but their situation in Carolina at least offers an intriguing storyline for the rest of the summer.

If one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, then the Carolina Panthers must double as a waste management company.

With their trade for former Cleveland Browns star Baker Mayfield now officially official, the Panthers are currently rostering two quarterbacks who were selected in the top three spots of the same draft—Mayfield and Sam Darnold. The former, of course, was taken with the first overall pick in 2018 and the latter with the third overall, courtesy of the New York Jets.

And that sick game of recycling, oddly enough, has been played once before. In fact, it was played all the way up to the pinnacle of the sport.

The 1980 Oakland Raiders entered the season with Dan Pastorini—the third overall selection by the Houston Oilers in 1971. The Santa Clara University product, who was acquired in exchange for the legendary Ken Stabler, began the campaign under center before sustaining a season-ending injury.

Pastorini’s broken leg gave way to Jim Plunkett, the Heisman Trophy-winning passer who went two picks before Pastorini nine years prior. Plunkett, an addition from 1978, then proceeded to lead Oakland to a Super Bowl XV victory—even capturing MVP honors in the 27-10 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Robbie Anderson has Sam Darnold's back. And he believes that the former first-round pick would be a successful NFL quarterback if not for the New York Jets.

Anderson kicked off his commentary when he stirred up social media buzz with a social media reply about Baker Mayfield. Prior to Wednesday's trade that sent Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns to the Carolina Panthers, Anderson made his thoughts clear on the fourth-year quarterback. He didn't want him on his team.

The Panthers receiver responded to a report on Instagram that Mayfield might land in Carolina with a succinct retort: "Nooooo."

Anderson's played with Darnold for three of the quarterback's four NFL seasons. He played with the Jets when New York drafted Darnold in 2018 with the third pick of the draft — two selections after Mayfield went to the Browns. Anderson joined the Panthers in 2019. Darnold joined him in Charlotte a year later and started 11 games of a 5-12 Panthers campaign.

Anderson: Jets 'messed up' Darnold's development
Darnold's struggled at every step of his NFL career and is in danger of losing his job to Mayfield in training camp. Anderson still believes in Darnold and blames the Jets for stunting his career.

Is there really a Panthers QB competition?
While Mayfield has his rightful critics, Darnold has been nothing short of a complete bust since joining the NFL. In four seasons, he's completed 59.8% of his passes for 212.5 yards per game while throwing 54 touchdowns and 52 interceptions. They're numbers that would have relegated a non top-10 pick to an NFL bench a long time ago.

Mayfield, meanwhile, has completed 61.6% of his passes for 235.4 yards per game with a 92-to-56 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He regressed last season, but his performance across the same four-year time span is appreciably better than Darnold's. If his struggles in 2021 can be attributed to a labrum tear that he played through, the Panthers may have gotten a steal in sending the Browns a conditional fifth-round draft pick in return.

The Panthers are reportedly opening up training camp with a quarterback competition, but all signs point to Mayfield being the better quarterback. There was nothing in Darnold's first season with the franchise that should give head coach Matt Rhule hope that he's the answer. And the Panthers didn't trade for Mayfield because they believe in Darnold.

The Jets may or may not have played a role in Darnold's failure to live up to his first-round pedigree. But that doesn't much matter at this point when it comes to Carolina's quarterback competition.

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