After outstanding quarterback ascents during the last two draft cycles, everyone wants to know who will be the next Joe Burrow or Zach Wilson. Following an entertaining but erratic season for Ole Miss, Matt Corral has the potential to be that guy in the 2022 NFL Draft. Does the Ole Miss QB have what it takes, or does his scouting report leave too many questions that need to be answered in the upcoming season?
Matt Corral NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Ole Miss
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 205 pounds
Matt Corral Scouting Report
Corral’s scouting report is a wild ride into the highs and lows of evaluating quarterback play. Let’s begin with the areas that make him an intriguing and promising NFL Draft prospect before moving on to the things he’ll need to improve if he’s considered a potential NFL player.
The Ole Miss QB has a live arm. There is no doubting his ability to throw the ball. Corral has both arm strength in driving the ball down the field and the ability to throw the ball with velocity to spin it into tight windows. He can throw the ball from multiple arm angles and has demonstrated that he can throw across his body. As a passer, he can impact all three levels of the field.
Although he was the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class, Corral can make plays with his legs. The Ole Miss QB routinely uses athleticism to evade pressure in the pocket. His footwork is solid, enabling him to be agile in the pocket. Furthermore, once out of the pocket, he is elusive in the open field. When forced out of the pocket, Corral does an excellent job of keeping his eyes downfield and flashes stellar change-of-direction ability.
Areas for improvement
While Corral has one of the better arms in the 2022 NFL Draft class, his ball placement requires a lot of work this season. He doesn’t routinely put his receivers in a position to make yardage after the catch. Although he can be accurate when things are going well, there are a lot of passes that he’d love to have back. This can be a result of relying on strength rather than precision on his throws.
The above example is just one that we can file under decision-making in his scouting report. This is another area that Corral needs to improve on through the 2021 campaign. There are plenty of “what was he thinking?!” moments on tape, ranging from throwing into double coverage to not seeing an opponent in a position to make a play.
This season he also needs to showcase an ability to get the ball out quickly. Corral can be guilty of holding onto the ball too long, resulting in either a sack or, even worse, him making a throw under pressure that leads to a turnover.
Right now, the biggest issue with Corral from an NFL Draft perspective is consistency. If he can routinely piece together the positive elements of his scouting report while eradicating the negatives, he’s got the potential to challenge the first round. However, it would be a brave team that spends early draft capital on the Ole Miss QB if he can’t.
Corral’s Player Profile
Corral’s volatile play for the Rebels is in keeping with his tumultuous path from high school to the NFL Draft. A prestigious arm talent as he grew up in California, Corral committed to USC early in 2016. A four-star prospect, the Trojans were excited to secure a player who would be the centerpiece of their 2018 recruiting class. That excitement intensified as Corral led Oaks Christian High School to a second consecutive Marmonte League championship. His junior year yielded 3,188 passing yards and 25 touchdowns.
Throughout 2017, Corral’s football world was turned upside down. Firstly, he announced that he was transferring out of Oaks Christian. Although he denied the reports, it was rumored that his departure was the result of a fight. By July 2017, Corral also rescinded his commitment to USC, cutting all ties with the program and committing to the Florida Gators.
Even as he progressed through a 2,495-passing-yard-and-29-touchdown season while earning US Army All-American honors, all was not well with Corral’s college football future. The coaching staff that had recruited him to Florida was replaced, and the young quarterback didn’t feel comfortable with the new people in charge of the program. Having stated that he loved the atmosphere of the SEC, Corral quickly committed to Ole Miss with the potential to gain playing time straight away.
Corral’s career at Ole Miss
Although Shea Patterson’s transfer left an open competition for the starting Ole Miss QB job, the Rebels rolled with Jordan Ta’amu during Corral’s true-freshman season. Despite this, he did see playing time in four games before taking a redshirt. Corral made his debut against Southern Illinois before impressing against Louisiana-Monroe. In addition to his first rushing score, Corral threw for 143 yards, completing all 10 pass attempts with 2 touchdowns.
Corral ended his first season and started his next similarly. Showcasing the volatility that will be the hallmark of this scouting report, he threw interceptions against Mississippi State in 2018. The Ole Miss QB then did the same again in the first start of his career, the 2019 game against Memphis. After a dismal display in his first start, he made amends with an SEC Freshman of the Week performance against Arkansas, where he threw for 246 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Despite setting career-high marks for total yards, passing yards, rushing, and passing attempts against California, Corral’s redshirt-freshman season failed to live up to its promise. As he split time under center with John Rhys-Plumlee, he stuttered to 1,362 yards while completing just 59% of his passes.
Corral’s draft stock rockets in Lane Kiffin’s offense
However, Corral’s college football rollercoaster picked up speed with the arrival of new head coach Lane Kiffin. In the season opener against Florida, Corral wowed with a then-career-high 395 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Ole Miss QB followed up with 4 touchdowns against Kentucky before orchestrating an offense whose 647 yards was the most conceded by any Nick Saban-led team. Despite ending in defeat, it showed that Ole Miss and Corral could mix it up with any defense in the SEC.
Corral tore apart Vanderbilt to the tune of a program-record 6 touchdowns while setting a career-high 513 passing yards and 4 touchdowns against South Carolina. However, the Ole Miss QB would also throw 6 interceptions against Arkansas and 5 interceptions against LSU (on a day where he proved his ability as a runner with 158 rushing yards and a score). He ended the 2020 campaign with 3,337 passing yards and 29 touchdowns, while 11 of his 14 interceptions came in the above two games.
With the 2022 NFL Draft quarterback class lacking the true depth of talent of last year, it’s calling out for someone like Corral to step up and provide a challenge to Sam Howell and Spencer Rattler. Can the Ole Miss QB be the man to lead the charge?