Matt Corral - QB - Ole Miss
Welcome to the rookie profile for Matt Corral. Corral flew under the radar most of his career until his Redshirt Sophomore season where he caught fire and put himself on the map. There’s no coincidence that this improvement coincided with the arrival of Lane Kiffin and his offensive scheme. He’s put his skillset on tape and over the past two years has at least made a case to be the QB1 taken in the NFL Draft and potentially fantasy drafts.
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 212 lbs
40-yard dash: DNP
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
As a true freshman, Matt Corral played just 4 games and was solidified as the QB2 behind Jordan Ta’amu in the Ole Miss offense. He came to Ole Miss as a 4-star, pro-style quarterback, and Ta’amu was an NFL potential prospect. So it was clear year one was a watch and learn season. Going into the 2019 season, Matt Corral was named the starter and it was his time to shine. He put up some good numbers throughout the year, but got injured early in the season, causing him to miss a few games. But, in his absence, John Rhys Plumlee performed well causing Matt Luke at the time to start splitting touches between the quarterbacks the rest of the season.
In 2020 is when things changed and Matt Corral’s stock started to skyrocket. In comes offensive guru Lane Kiffin. No longer would he be splitting snaps with John Rhys Plumlee, Plumlee was truly used as a gadget player and nothing more. Corral garnered 2,000 more yards and 23 more touchdowns than 2019. He also threw 11 more interceptions, which was his main area of critique. This past season, Corral cut down on the interceptions by 9, but his touchdowns also took a dip by 9. Granted, Corral did lose Elijah Moore and Kenny Yeboah to the NFL while his most likely WR2 in Jonathan Mingo was injured for over half the season. His efforts in 2021 earned him the Conerly Trophy (best college football player in Mississippi), Second Team All-SEC, and his name in conversations for the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Matt Corral has a knack for making exciting plays. He has great pocket awareness, showing to be elusive in evading defenders in the backfield, and knowing when he needs to break out of the pocket. When he gets out of the pocket, he keeps his eyes downfield and can put the ball in tight areas, even when he’s throwing on the run. Despite coming out of high school as a pro-style quarterback, he loves to run the ball and Kiffin let him do that (maybe a bit too much). In his two years with Kiffin, he ran the ball for over 500 yards and looked great doing so. He’s smooth and elusive when he gets moving and is a huge competitor, willing to go the extra mile for a first down or score.
Corral possesses NFL-level arm talent, being able to push the ball easily 50+ yards down the field accurately. He can make throws to all levels of the field and reads through his progressions well. He improved during his Redshirt Junior year, not being scared to utilize his check downs instead of trying to force the ball to covered receivers. He has good ball placement and knows when to put some touch on his throws, not throwing 100mph on every throw. Consistency will be key for Corral, as he has all the tools to be successful at the next level.
In his early years, there were many instances of questionable decision-making. He started to clean that up, taking calculated risks during his final year. A potential concern is his frame being a bit smaller, which comes into account with how much Corral ran the ball in his final two years. If he wants to continue to be that dual-threat type of quarterback, he needs to slide more often and learn to protect his body. While it’s good to see him put his body on the line in big-time moments, he needs to know when to live to fight another day and preserve his health in not-so-big moments. Touching on his mobility, he is elusive in the pocket, but that can lead to him holding the ball for too long and taking unnecessary sacks. The speed and athleticism of these pass rushers only increase at the next level.
There are some concerns with the offense that Ole Miss ran, producing very few successful quarterbacks out of said system. The offense was heavy with RPOs and quarterback runs that manufactured a lot of easy-to-make plays and yards for Corral. It makes it hard to fully evaluate some of Corral’s attributes.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Mid Round 1
The quarterback class this year is really interesting as there are 4-5 guys that are legitimate options to be the first off the board. While Corral isn’t a complete prospect, he has all the talent and intangibles to succeed at the next level. He just needs to stay consistent with his decision-making process. Some ideal landing spots include the Denver Broncos, Washington Commanders, Pittsburgh Steelers, or the New Orleans Saints. All these teams Corral could walk into would be fairly put together with established weapons already surrounding him. That would be ideal for a quarterback that might need some time to adjust to the NFL level and work on his consistency.
Post Draft Analysis
Carolina Panthers- Round 3, Pick 30
Everyone was surprised when only one quarterback went in the first round of the NFL Draft, not to mention all the “top” quarterbacks fell to the third round. The Panthers have been struggling to find the right fit at quarterback for years now since the departure of Cam Newton. They gave up premium picks for Sam Darnold after a disappointing start to his career at the New York Jets, but have been unable to revitalize his career into what people thought it could be when he was just a prospect. The organization was also in on the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes but wasn’t able to secure the deal with him. That left them with taking the leftovers in free agency/on the trade market or taking a shot in the draft. They decided to take their shot on Matt Corral, who seems to be in a quarterback battle with incumbent starter Sam Darnold. Whoever wins the starting job has weapons around him in DJ Moore, Christian McCaffrey, and Robby Anderson. But the offensive line is still a work in progress and will need to make real strides to be a stable front for their quarterback.
Matt Corral is in a position where he could realistically take the starting job from Sam Darnold. It’s obvious that the organization is not sold on Sam Darnold and that he is on the hot seat. But Darnold is still the incumbent starter and Corral will have to really show out to give Matt Rhule no other choice but to put Corral in. He has the tools to be successful and could flourish in Rhule’s offense with the weapons surrounding him. Corral is also fairly mobile to combat the offensive line struggles. Still, he’s a long shot with a decent chance to get the nod to lead the offense. He’s worth a flier in the third round of dynasty rookie drafts if it is Superflex, but in non-Superflex leagues, he should go undrafted. The same can be said for redraft leagues, he should be avoided out of the gates without substantial noise in the preseason.