2022 NFL Draft Player Preview: Matt Corral

  • Matt Corral, 6-1/205

  • Quarterback

  • Ole Miss

  • Matt Corral 2021 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: Corral was a top recruit coming out of high school, but he did not impress as a freshman. He completed 59 percent of his passes in 2019 for 1,362 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions. Corral showed real development under Lane Kiffin in 2020 and looked like he was starting to realize the potential that made him a top recruit. On the year, 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 had a combined three interceptions over the other eight games.

    2021 Season Outlook: Corral will see a challenging 2021 because he plays in the best division of the best conference in college football. The SEC, and especially the SEC West, is the closest thing the NFL has to a minor league. Aside from a tough slate of conference opponents, Corral will see some weak nonconference competition, like Louisville, Austin Peay, Tulane and Liberty, that should help him pad his stats. The Liberty game could be very interesting because Flames quarterback Malik Willis is another 2022 NFL Draft early-round prospect to keep an eye on.

    The biggest challenges for Corral will come against Alabama - Oct. 2 -, LSU - Oct. 23 -, Auburn - Oct. 30 - and Texas A&M - Nov. 13. On top of his tough schedule, Corral lost his No. 1 receiver, Elijah Moore, and his second leading receiver, tight end Kenny Yeboah, to the 2021 NFL Draft.

    Skill-Set Summary: The NFL is always on the lookout for potential franchise quarterbacks, and Corral showed off special ability in 2020. He was a gunslinger who put up a lot of points and pushed his team to play tough against some of the top teams in college football, including Alabama. Corral is a fighter with a gritty style of play who leaves it all on the field.

    As a passer, Corral is an aggressive trigger-man who can rip a defense apart. He has a strong arm and is capable of going vertical to challenge defenses downfield. Corral can spin the ball to fire fastballs into tight windows in the short to intermediate part of the field. He flashes some accuracy, but could stand to develop his placement. Corral makes some big-time throws and isn't scared to challenge defenses. Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin did a nice job of teaching Corral the offense, as Corral showed advanced recognition of where his receivers would be in 2020, and he looked very natural executing the offense in his first season with Kiffin.

    On top of being a dangerous passer, Corral hurts defenses with his athleticism and running ability. He is a real threat to pick up yards on the ground, showing a burst as a runner and some surprising elusive moves in the open field. It isn't all that common to see SEC defenders get juked by a quarterback, but Corral pulled that off regularly in 2020. On top of elusiveness, Corral is a tough runner who lowers his shoulder and tries to pick up yards after contact. He will need to do that less as a pro, because it leaves him to take some big hits. He could stand to slide more to help protect himself from injury.

    Corral does a nice job of scrambling to buy time to make throws on the run. When plays break down, Corral can achieve things off structure by running for yards or letting his receivers break off routes to get open downfield. Dual-threat ability is en vogue in the NFL, so a lot of teams should be intrigued with Corral's skill set.

    Corral's game has some rawness to it, and he could stand to refine various aspects for the NFL. He needs to get faster at working through progressions and at working off his first read. Those are points of improvement for the vast majority of quarterbacks entering the next level. As a junior, Corral must cut down on interceptions by improving his decision-making and not being reckless with the ball. He threw his interceptions in bunches in 2020, whil in the majority of games, he did a nice job of avoiding turnovers. Still, he had those two meltdown performances - versus LSU and Arkansas - with the 11 total picks. Avoiding breakdowns like those in 2021 will help Corral show progress and development to pro evaluators.

    Sometimes, Corral looks like he is wary of overthrowing receivers, which leads to him overcompensating and leaves his ball placement a little off. He has a tendency to toss passes a little short, behind, or low in order to make sure he gets the completion. That leads to receivers reaching and behind at times to make the catch. If Corral improves his timing, it would help to improve his ball location. It would also help him to throw receivers open and lead his receivers for more yards after the catch.

    There are times when Corral can throw his passes a little flat. That isn't uncommon with quarterback who have quality arm talent, and there are times at which Corral puts air under the ball and lofts in pretty passes, so he just needs to get more consistent about adding loft when the time calls for it.

    Corral has a good skill set with arm talent and running ability. If he continues to develop in 2021, he could become a consensus franchise quarterback prospect.

    2022 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the season, Corral has a wide range with early to mid-round potential depending on how he plays in 2021.



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