Matt Corral, QB
School: Ole Miss | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6’ 1” / 205 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 1
Comp: Zach Wilson
Though Corral started 4 games for Ole Miss in 2019, he wasn’t handed the full-time starting QB job until the COVID-impacted 2020 season. That year he was named a Manning Award finalist - given to the best collegiate QB, as judged by the Sugar Bowl committee - as a result of leading the FBS in total offense per game, passing for over 3,300 yards and 29 TDs in 10 starts.
Last season, he took significant steps to cut down on poor decision making, reducing his INTs from 14 to 5, and finished seventh in the Heisman voting. The Running Rebels made the Sugar Bowl at the end of the season, and rather than skip what, in some respects, could have been viewed as a meaningless game, at least for Corral, who was headed to the draft, he decided to stick by his teammates and play. Unfortunately for Corral, he would have his leg rolled up on in the game and suffer a high ankle sprain. He is expected to have a full recovery.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com describes Corral as the following blend of two recent QB prospects:
“With Corral, I see a player with similar setup and release quickness to Zach Wilson when he was coming out of BYU last season. Corral’s gregarious on-field demeanor, talent for feathering in the deep ball and ability to command his offense is reminiscent of Baker Mayfield during his Oklahoma career.”
- Very accurate passer (68% completion percentage in 2021); dramatically reduced INTs from 2020 to 2021.
- Has an incredibly quick release and very good arm strength.
- Very mobile, ran for over 600 yards and 11 TDs in 2021.
- Strong ability to evade pass rush.
- Top end leadership. Played in final Bowl game (and got injured) because he didn’t want to let his team down.
- Sometimes criticized for not fully progressing through reads.
- Coming off late season ankle injury.
- Some past concerns about maturity.
Let’s See His Work
Matt Corral’s ranks among SEC Quarterbacks over the last two seasons— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 5, 2022
6,691 yards (1st)
49 touchdowns (1st)
41 big time throws (1st) pic.twitter.com/N7qpv0PKLN
How He Would Fit
When Washington traded for Carson Wentz this offseason, they absolutely increased the ceiling of their QB room. Taylor Heinicke gave it his best last year, but, unfortunately, his best just wasn’t good enough. His arm strength and stature appear to pose insurmountable obstacles to his fitness as a starting NFL QB. That said, he has incredible heart, and should be a fine back-up.
Wentz though, comes with his own set of question marks. He’s had a number of injuries throughout his career, he’s on his third team in three years, and there are some concerning questions about his leadership ability. While I think every Washington fan wants him to succeed in 2022, many of us aren’t willing to bet the farm on it. That's where Corral comes in. Much has been made of the apparent mediocrity of this QB class, and it seems to be a legitimate gripe.
I’m not a professional scout, so when I have questions on these matters I turn to professionals (or groups of professionals) whose opinions I respect on the matter. In the case of QBs, there’s no one whose opinion I respect more than that of former NFL QB Chris Simms (son of Phil Simms). Chris wasn’t a great pro QB, but his QB prospect evaluation skills have been nearly impeccable, as shown in his assessments below:
Chris Simms QB Rankings over the past 6 (or so) years:
- Matt Corral
- Kenny Pickett
- Malik Willis
- Sam Howell
- Desmond Ridder
- Zach Wilson
- Trevor Lawrence
- Mac Jones
- Kellen Mond
- Justin Fields
- Joe Burrow
- Justin Herbert
- Jordan Love
- Tua Tagovailoa
- Jacob Eason
- Kyler Murray
- Drew Lock
- Dwayne Haskins
- Ryan Finley
- Jarrett Stidham
- Lamar Jackson
- Josh Allen
- Baker Mayfield
- Sam Darnold
- Josh Rosen
In the 15-minute video posted above, Simms sings Corral’s praises, acknowledging that he still needs to polish his skills, and could use some time on the bench before moving into a starting NFL role. When pressed for recent comps, in terms of ceiling, he offers Tua Tagovailoa, and says Corral is worth a top 10 pick. That assessment, plus what I see of Corral’s arm strength, release velocity, and athleticism on tape are good enough for me. This is not an appeal for just any back-up QB in the draft, it’s a defense of picking Corral specifically.
If Wentz flames out in 2022 for one reason or another, Corral is a legitimate Plan B for the future. If Wentz leads the team to (recently) unprecedented success over the next few years, Corral is a potential trade asset. In any case, going into 2022 without a legitimate back-up plan in place at QB would be a nearly unforgivable failing by the front office. Matt Corral would be a very wise hedge against risk.
Do you think Washington should draft Matt Corral in the first round?
This poll is closed
Yes, at 11.
Yes, with a trade back.