Updated June 23, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
NFL teams last month held their spring scouting meetings, and while there they received their preseason watch list, which is compiled by advance scouts. The watch list is shared among the franchises and helps the area scouts, national scouts, and college directors to identify the players they will scout for the next NFL draft when they start visiting college campuses in training camp. Of course, new players are added and others are dropped as the season unfolds, but this watch list contains the vast majority of players who will comprise the 2022 NFL Draft class.
Some advance scouts assign grades, and some franchises do more preseason grading work than others. In speaking to multiple NFL sources, Ole Miss' Matt Corral is the highest-graded quarterback prospect per some advance scouts.
Corral showed good development under new head coach Lane Kiffin last season, starting to realize the potential that made him a top recruit. In 2020, the sophomore completed 71 percent of his passes for 3,337 yards, 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He also ran for 506 yards and four rushing touchdowns. Corral's interceptions came in bunches, as he threw five picks in a narrow loss to LSU and six interceptions against Arkansas. He tossed only a total of three interceptions over the other eight games.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Corral showed off some serious arm talent and running ability in 2020. Some advance scouts had him among the highest-graded players in the preseason and the highest-graded quarterback prospect, by far.
Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler was not included on the preseason watch list even though he features the highest odds on gambling sites to be the No. 1-overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Rattler is only a redshirt sophomore, and many teams wait to do work on redshirt sophomores because the vast majority go back to school. Sometimes, college coaches don't submit the names of redshirt sophomores to scouts, which use as a motivator for the players. Other times, coaches ask scouts not to include a player to help serve as an incentive to train harder or remedy off-the-field behavior. Thus, omission can occur for a variety of reasons, but scouts will probably still put Rattler under the microscope this fall unless they hear he is likely to return to Oklahoma for the 2022 season.
It is important to keep in mind that the preseason watch list put together by advance scouts is just a starting point. In 2018, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams were not on the watch list, but they ended up being the first- and third-overall picks, respectively, in the 2019 NFL Draft. A lot can and will change during the course of the coming season and across the leadup to the 2022 NFL Draft, but Corral has made a good enough first impression to be a serious candidate as the top quarterback prospect.