Matt Corral came into the 2021 college football season as the quarterback who could challenge the established front-runners for the 2022 NFL Draft QB1 crown. With a live arm and eye-catching mobility, the Ole Miss QB certainly has some alluring qualities. Did he do enough this season to establish himself as a potential first-round pick? Corral has a scouting report brimming with talent, but are there still questions to answer?
Matt Corral NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Ole Miss
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height: 6’1 5/8″
- Weight: 212 pounds
- Wingspan: 74 1/2″
- Arm: 30 3/4″
- Hand: 9 5/8″
Matt Corral Scouting Report
While often maligned, each quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft class has a little bit of something to like. Malik Willis has an incredible arm and ankle-breaking mobility. Desmond Ridder is defined by similar attributes. Sam Howell has impressive deep-ball accuracy. Carson Strong could probably throw the ball over a mountain. Kenny Pickett combines many of these attributes as an all-around solid prospect.
So, where does Corral stand within this pantheon of NFL Draft passers? His scouting report truly 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.
The arm talent is undoubtedly there for Corral. It’s important not to confuse talent and strength, which we’ll get to shortly. However, the Ole Miss QB has undeniable arm talent. Look to the opening game of the 2021 season and his sideline pass to Dontario Drummond. His ability to zip the ball between two defenders with pinpoint accuracy to the sideline was hugely impressive.
This is one of Corral’s best facets. On short and intermediate throws, he has the ability to laser the ball into tight windows. He does so with consistent accuracy to these areas of the field. Furthermore, the Ole Miss QB can get the ball out quickly and has the ability to launch from multiple arm angles. He’s also shown the ability to drive the ball downfield when required.
Arm talent, mobility, leadership
Poise plays a huge role in quarterback success, and Corral has shown dramatic improvements in this area of his game. Last season, when the going got tough, he was prone to making boneheaded decisions. This year, he’s been more measured and methodical in his approach when tasked with playing from behind.
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. This year, he’s consistently demonstrated that he can run with physicality. The Ole Miss QB has also displayed the ability to throw with accuracy on the move.
In addition to the above technical ability, Corral has showcased he is a tough, competitive leader this year. When the going gets rough, the Ole Miss QB has shown he can lead a team and motivate and elevate his teammates.
Areas for improvement
With his performances in the 2021 college football season, Corral has kept himself in the mix to be selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, some areas of his scouting report still require further improvement to be a viable starting quarterback option at the NFL level.
While Corral possesses excellent arm talent, his arm strength isn’t on the same level as some of the other quarterbacks in the class. He’s prone to put air under the ball rather than driving it to the deep third. This has a detrimental impact on his accuracy on deep throws.
Additionally, from a throwing perspective, Corral doesn’t show a consistent ability to throw with anticipation. He rarely puts his pass catcher in a position to make yardage after the catch by leading the receiver with his throws. Furthermore, the Ole Miss QB will need to prove to NFL teams that he can go through his progressions at the next level.
At 6’1″ and 212 pounds, NFL teams may have some size concerns. This issue could be compounded at the next level by Corral’s play style. His gung-ho approach to running the ball — and happily welcoming contact — has already seen him experience injury issues. Against more physical opposition in the NFL, that could pose a significant risk.
Corral’s Player Profile
Corral’s volatile play for the Rebels maintains 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, however, 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-yard, 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 saw playing time in four games prior to 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 NFL Draft ascension
However, Corral’s college football roller coaster 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 that up with 4 touchdowns against Kentucky; the offense put up 647 yards vs. Alabama, 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. He’d have 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 anticipation that he could assert himself as one of the top QBs in the 2022 NFL Draft class, Corral opened the season with an impressive display against Louisville. Making some throws that encapsulated his arm talent and upside, he threw for 381 yards and a touchdown while finding the end zone with his legs. With 5 touchdowns against Austin Peay and 7 total touchdowns against Tulane, Corral’s stock was on the up.
Through the 2021 season, he cut down on turnovers, throwing just 4 interceptions compared to 14 in the previous campaign. However, an injury-riddled campaign prevented the Ole Miss QB from elevating his stock even higher. Nonetheless, he still ended the year with a career-high 3,343 passing yards, 614 rushing yards, and 31 total touchdowns.
His uncertain pre-draft process
He also ended his college career under a cloud of uncertainty. Unlike multiple NFL Draft prospects, Corral opted to play in Ole Miss’ bowl game — the Sugar Bowl. During the game, he suffered a high ankle sprain that limited his availability during the pre-draft process. While the other quarterbacks battling for the QB1 spot were putting their talent on display, Corral was nowhere to be seen.
As Ridder ramped up his stock with an impressive workout and Willis continued to wow NFL evaluators at the NFL Combine, Corral could just answer media questions. As a result, it felt like he’d finally slipped out of the QB1 conversation. Despite this, after showcasing his alluring traits and demonstrating that he’s fully healthy at the Ole Miss Pro Day, Corral still has the possibility to be selected in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Tony Pauline’s scouting report for Matt Corral
Positives: Super-productive college quarterback with a lot of next-level potential. Patient in the pocket, senses the rush, and shows incredible poise under pressure. Tremendous leader on the field who does not make bad decisions or force throws. Displays a sense of timing, leads receivers with passes, and lets them run to the ball. Shows great vision and understanding of what’s happening on the field. Needles his passes into tight spots.
Possesses a quick release and live arm. Accurate and flashes the ability to place passes where only his receivers can come away with the reception. Has a next-level arm and puts deep passes out in front of targets. Natural looking off the safety and shows great recognition as well as awareness. Spreads the ball around to all his targets, puts touch on throws when necessary, and takes the safe underneath outlet if nothing else is available.
Elusive and scrambles away from defenders to get the pass off. Tough ball carrier on designed quarterback runs. Effectively sells ball fakes.
Negatives: Lacks size and pocket stature. Cannot withstand the rush and goes down rather easily. Must improve his downfield accuracy.
Analysis: Corral was a terrific quarterback the past two seasons and a productive passer who protected the football. He possesses a lot of next-level ability. However, he will have to learn the NFL game and be placed in a system where he is able to cleanly stand in the pocket.