2022 NFL Draft First Look: Matt Corral

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Next up in our 2022 NFL Draft First Look series is Ole Miss’s 6’1″ 206 lb. quarterback Matt Corral, who is quite the polarizing prospect. Some rate him highly and see him as a future first round selection, while others are far lower on him and doubt his ability to succeed at the next level. Where do I stand on Corral? Read on to find out!

Strengths: Corral possesses high-level arm strength that allows him to hit deep balls and throw with a lot of zip over the middle of the field. He is equally talented from an athletic standpoint, with the burst to pick up chunks of yardage with his legs and the elusiveness to make defenders miss in open field. Corral is a twitchy athlete who excels at maneuvering in the pocket. His ability to sense pressure is advanced, which he combines with his athleticism to be able to escape a muddied pressure for a gain quite often. Corral’s improvisational ability is exactly what the NFL desires in quarterbacks nowadays, as he can extend the play out of structure beyond running the football, showing the ability to alter his arm angles and throwing platform effectively while scrambling. His ability to escape pressure and either run for a first down or throw for a first down by scanning the field and finding the open receiver is very impressive. Corral is also really smart and decisive when choosing to make a play with his legs or his arm when he escapes the pocket. Corral shows solid accuracy to all levels of the field. He flashes perfect ball placement, with a number of throws on tape that fit into the tightest of windows, both over the middle of the field and on touch throws deep. Corral has shown he has the arm strength and accuracy to make every NFL throw on the field and is a good distributor of the football on top of being able to extend the play at an elite level. He performed very well against several excellent defenses, such as Alabama, Florida, and Indiana.  

Weaknesses: There are two glaring red flags on Corral’s resume: the games against Arkansas and LSU. Despite taking care of the ball very well outside of these games, he threw a whopping eleven interceptions in these two games (six against Arkansas, five against LSU). The picks were atrocious, and Corral exhibited the poorest decision-making and reading of the coverage possible over these two games. Given that he was not anywhere near as poor in these areas in other games, this also brings into question his mental strength and ability to overcome throwing the first or second interception. It is extremely worrying to see two instances of a quarterback completely unraveling when a couple mistakes happen early and ending with six interceptions in one game and five in the other. Additionally, Corral’s height isn’t ideal, as at just 6’1” he does have some of his passes get batted or tipped. Corral has some misses both short and deep on film. They aren’t common but he should still look to become even more accurate. 

Bottom Line: Without the Arkansas and LSU games, Corral would be a top 10 talent in my book. He possesses great arm strength, athleticism, and ability to escape pressure and extend the play, as well as a high baseline of accuracy to all levels. A quarterback with all of these traits usually profiles as a surefire future franchise quarterback, but unfortunately it is impossible to ignore the massive red flags that are the Arkansas and LSU games that he threw eleven interceptions in combined. 2021 will be a massive year for Corral, who needs to produce a full season of high-level play that does not include one or two catastrophic games. If he even shows a glimpse of unraveling like he did in those two games, I will be very worried of how he will fare against NFL defenses that could rattle him mentally. Crucially, I’d also like to see Corral be able to throw an interception against a good SEC defense and not let it affect his performance the rest of the game. He certainly has the natural talent and throwing ability to be a first round talent, so it is up to him to produce the consistent season worthy of it. 

Sources:

  1. Cover Image: https://therebelwalk.com/2021/08/primed-for-a-great-2021-ole-miss-qb-matt-corral-is-in-elite-company-in-sec-history/

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