This 2022 NFL Draft Scouting takes a look at one of the consensus top quarterbacks, Ole Miss star Matt Corral.
Name: Matt Corral
School: Ole Miss
Few players did more to help their draft stock in 2021 than Matt Corral. After being regarded as an afterthought in the 2021 season, Corral was able to catapult his way into the group of quarterback prospects and has a real shot at being the first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft come April.
Corral had an illustrious high school career at Long Beach Poly High School in California. He was named to the All-American bowl and had scholarship offers from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, as well as many others. After committing to Ole Miss, he redshirted his first season in Oxford. Corral saw playing time early in his freshman season, appearing in ten games and threw for 1,362 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions on a 59 percent completion percentage.
Ole Miss hiring Lane Kiffin as head coach the following offseason marked the turning point of Corral’s college career. He improved in almost every aspect of his game, finishing his sophomore year with 3,337 passing yards, 29 passing touchdowns, and 14 interceptions on a 70.9 completion percentage in ten games. Corral’s sophomore season put him on the NFL’s radar, and his 2021 season only helped. Corral saw a dip in completion percentage and yards per attempt but cut down on the interceptions dramatically and finished the year with 3,343 yards, 20 passing touchdowns, and five interceptions on a 67.7 completion percentage. Another major development in Corral’s game in Oxford was his rushing ability. He amassed a total of 1,120 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground in his final two seasons.
Corral’s accuracy and ball placement has improved a great deal throughout his time in college. Although skeptics have claimed that his completion percentage has been inflated by the quarterback-friendly system he plays in, Corral doesn’t miss many throws and has a quick, fluid release that was integral to his success with RPOs. Corral also does a great job of hitting his receivers in stride and setting them up for yards after the catch.
Most of Corral’s throws this past season were in the short to intermediate range, but he would air it out from time to time. His deep ball accuracy, however, wasn’t as consistent. This will be the main area Corral will need to improve on at the next level. Even many of his completions downfield forced the receiver to make major adjustments to the ball and limited yards after catch opportunities.
Corral’s arm strength is adequate but not overly special. The good thing is he can make pretty much all of the throws he would regularly be asked to make in an NFL offense. He also puts solid velocity on the ball and is another reason why he was so lethal in the short pass game.
Decision-making was a major flaw in Corral’s 2020 campaign. In 2021, he made the transition from gunslinger to a more poised and decisive passer. The touchdowns numbers may have dropped, but Corral had nine fewer interceptions, and his ball security made Mississippi’s offense one of the most efficient in college football.
Decision-making and processing don’t have to be related but often go hand in hand. Corral’s improved ball security was largely a product of his willingness to look past his first and second and reads and take check downs.
As an athlete, Corral checks all of the boxes. Even against SEC competition, he was able to hurt opposing defenses with his rushing. Corral was able to use his legs to extend pass plays and on designed runs. NFL speed may make it difficult for him to change games with his rushing, but the athletic ability is still a major positive to his game.
It’s easy to see why Matt Corral has so much pre-draft buzz. In the 2022 NFL Draft, which lacks a true No.1 guy at his position, teams are intrigued by the complete package Corral offers. With that said, not everyone is sold on him.
Some might feel like Kiffin’s scheme protected Corral from having to make many challenging throws. Corral was great with RPOs, and that’s certainly something he can use at the NFL level, but it can’t be your bread and butter. Given how much teams and scouts value physical traits in quarterbacks, in most drafts an undersized guy with an average arm coming from an offense that featured high percentage throws wouldn’t be the first quarterback off the board, but this isn’t most draft classes. Corral has improved every year in college, and we could see similar growth at the professional level.