The Carolina Panthers selected former Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the No. 94 overall pick. Carolina originally did not hold a third-round pick, but sent the New England Patriots a fourth-round pick and a 2023 third-round pick to move up to select its quarterback.
While all quarterbacks this year “fell,” NFL Media reported that Corral’s drop was because of specific reasons. Ian Rapoport indicated Corral could have been the Panthers’ No. 1 quarterback in this class, but that he fell because of off-field issues:
“The Carolina Panthers, football-wise, thought Matt Corral had the best film, hands down. But this is about a lot more than that. There’s a lot of work required here to make sure they are comfortable off the field with the person. He dealt with a multitude of issues including alcohol and related issues. He admitted publicly to battling depression. He has that unreliable behavior off the field and he really, really struggled in some interviews with teams. That said, the talent is enough to make the Carolina Panthers take a shot with Corral.”
This report caught many off guard, but Carolina has a point in believing Corral could be the top quarterback in this class. Last season for the Rebels, Corral threw for 3,349 yards, 20 touchdowns, five interceptions and rushed for 11 touchdowns. He ended his career with the third-highest career completion percentage in the SEC since 1956. Corral is also just one of five college quarterbacks since 2000 to register a 3,300-plus passing yard campaign while throwing five or fewer interceptions and rushing for double-digit touchdowns.
Corral is happy he landed in Carolina, and even said there was some comfort found during his visit there.
“I was a fan of coach McAdoo when I finally got to meet him and spend time with him when we were eating lunch,” Corral said, via the Panthers’ official website. “I’m excited to get back to Carolina and start to work. Really, because I was nervous at first, and he noticed that, and called me out on it. Then there was a comfort there. Him understanding I was already nervous and calling me out on it was kind of comforting. He knew it.
“I felt like it was a place I’d end up for sure.”
Corral spoke with CBS Sports ahead of the NFL Draft, and when asked what made him different from the other signal-callers in this class, the California kid expounded upon his leadership ability and how important it is in the game of football.
“What makes me different is really just my leadership,” said Corral. “The reason why I say my leadership is just because I feel like it’s one of the most important attributes you can have as a quarterback.
“In order to be a great quarterback and a successful quarterback and have that career that everybody wants, you’re not going to be able to do it alone. You need to bring people with you. You need to be that ultimate servant leader to where you got the whole team behind you. I feel like I understand how to make those connections with people, and connect with everybody from different types of backgrounds. I just feel like that’s very important just because I want to win Super Bowls, I want to win games.”