Matt Corral, QB, Panthers
The Carolina Panthers have been among the most aggressive teams in the league in their efforts to find a quarterback of the future. Many believed that desperation, coupled with the fact that they had a gap of 131 picks from round one to round four, would lead the front office into reaching for one at the No. 6 overall pick. To their credit, they relented from succumbing to the pressure and instead chose the best player on their board — left tackle Ikem Ekwonu.
As stated before, nobody expected quarterbacks to last as long as they did in the 2022 NFL Draft. Leading up to the draft, there were heavy rumors expressing that the Panthers loved Matt Corral. I even went as far as predicting that the team would take Corral at No. 6 in a mock draft earlier this offseason.
The Ole Miss quarterback remained on the board at No. 94, and Carolina decided that they had watched him fall long enough. General manager Scott Fitterer packaged No. 137 overall this year, along with a third-round pick in 2023, to secure a guy that they considered taking all the way back on day one.
Matt Corral ran a heavy RPO system at Ole Miss. The way the league is trending, this is becoming less and less of a bad thing. Add in the fact that Matt Rhule utilized the RPO a ton during his time as a college coach, and the potential is there for this pairing.
If Christian McCaffery can stay healthy, and their pass catchers around DJ Moore continue to make strides, maybe Corral could provide serviceable play as a rookie. He adds an element as a rusher that current starting quarterback Sam Darnold doesn’t bring to the table.
That added athleticism and ability to run the RPO at a high level gives me reason to believe that Rhule will start Corral immediately. Being thrust into a day one role is not always a good thing though, and because of this I have him checking in outside the top three of this list. Regardless of how I feel about Corral as a prospect, it’s impossible to deny how impressive it was for the franchise to land Ekwonu and Corral with such limited resources at their disposal. As far as the fit goes, I like it but I can’t quite get to the point of loving it.