NFL Draft Analysis

2022 NFL Draft rankings: QB2 Matt Corral

by Thor Nystrom
Updated On: April 3, 2022, 1:17 am ET

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Below you'll find my report on Matt Corral and my full QB2-QB15 rankings with comps and advanced stats. On Monday in this space, we'll discuss QB1 Malik Willis. Statistical rankings courtesy of PFF and ESPN, and are based out of 39 qualified draft-eligible quarterbacks. FCS quarterbacks not included in rushing QBR (19 qualifiers).


2. Matt Corral | Ole Miss | 6’2/212 

PFF grade rank: 15
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 9
PFF big-time throw % rank: 32
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 7
BTT/TWT rank: 10
PFF clean pocket rank: 9
PFF under pressure rank: 29
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 4
2021 dropbacks: 472

Corral signed with Ole Miss as the No. 6 overall quarterback in the 2018 class to play in then-OC Phil Longo’s offense. Corral attempted 22 passes in mop-up duty while taking a redshirt behind Jordan Ta’amu that season. Calamity struck that offseason when Longo left to become Mack Brown's OC at UNC (to mentor Sam Howell).

Ole Miss HC Matt Luke, on the hot seat after a 5-7 season, hired Rich Rodriguez as Mississippi’s new OC to replace Longo prior to the 2019 season. That brought about a seismic offensive shift Corral hadn’t signed up for. Nevertheless, Corral stayed. He was athletic enough for RichRod’s system, but not as athletic as John Rhys Plumlee. Corral threw for a mere 1,362 yards with a 6/3 TD/INT rate in 2019 as the 1B to Plumlee’s 1A.

The former top prospect looked lost. Corral admitted to Yahoo! Sports’ Eric Edholm that he battled depression off-the-field that year. Fortuna finally smiled upon Corral after that nightmare season. The Rebels fired Luke and his staff. Lane Kiffin rode in to replace Luke, ditching RichRod’s spread-option offense with an uber-aggressive, RPO-heavy, up-tempo scheme run out of Pistol and shotgun.

An attack similar to Longo's -- only more aggressive, and run at higher tempo. Corral broke out under Kiffin in 2020, throwing for 3,337 yards and 29 TD on 70.9% completions and 10.2 YPA with 605 rushing yards and four TD on 6.4 YPC (sacks omitted). In 2021, Corral returned to throw for 3,349 yards with a 20/5 TD/INT ratio on 67.9% completions with 772 rushing yards and 11 TD on 6.1 YPC (sacks omitted).

Corral throws from multiple arm angles, with side-arm passes used to sneak balls around defenders. He doesn’t need a platform to zing a ball out on-the-money. High-end touch and velocity up the seam – Lane Kiffin’s system has a lot of these throws, and Corral perfected them. 

Corral processes information quickly and plays the position with a creative flair. He has a knack for flipping to his target and getting the ball out in one fluid motion, which sends it on its way before the defense can react. This style put a ton of stress on the corners stranded on islands against Ole Miss’ wide-open attack. 

Corral is on the smaller side, but he’s got a whip of a right arm, top-3 arm-strength in the class along with Carson Strong and Malik Willis. There is no throw he can’t make. Corral isn’t one of those hammers that only sees nails. When velocity or moon balls are called for, that’s what he dials up. When the situation calls for a changeup or touch pass, that’s what he does.

Corral’s touch extends to all levels. But his accuracy tends to wane when he gets hurried or sloppy with his lower-half. Sometimes this is a result of pressure. Sometimes his brain is moving faster than his feet and he sees something and instantly starts winding up before setting, leading to unforced accuracy or placement errors. This is where Corral’s gunslinging comes back to bite him. When his mechanics start to go, he amps up the aggression instead of calming his game and his feet. 

The good news is that Corral consistently flashes above-average accuracy when set. Amongst this class over the past two years, Corral finished No. 2 and No. 9, respectively, in adjusted accuracy. We can be a little forgiving for the drop-off this past season. The degree of difficulty ratcheted up with WR Elijah Moore and TE Kenny Yeboah – who combined for 47.5% of Ole Miss’ catches and more than half its receiving yards and TD in 2020 – taking their talents to the NFL’s Jets.

Modifications to the offense as well as the drop-off in receiving talent could explain why Corral fell from No. 1 in this class with 24 big-time throws in 2020 to ranking No. 32 in big-time throw rate (7.0% to 4.3%). His aDOT and YPA fell from 10.9 and 10.3 in 2020, respectively, to 8.5 and 8.5 in 2021. Corral's receivers dropped 24 balls last year, third-highest in this quarterback class. With the more-conservative approach, Corral proved to be much more caring with the ball, slashing his turnover-play rate from 3.8% to 1.8%.

Tough kid, will hang in there for a throw and take a shot if necessary. He has a good feel for the pass rush and keeps his eyes downfield as long as possible. Crisp and convincing in the play-action game. Moves well on bootlegs, and spins it on the run. Corral is a little hyper-active in the pocket, but, luckily, he’s very adept at maneuvering in tight spaces and makes defenders miss in the pocket. 

When it’s time to escape he’s slippery and squirts up-field quickly. Corral isn’t a threat to take it to the house, but he’ll nick you with six-yard paper-cut scrambles all game long if you give it to him.

HC Lane Kiffin’s system didn’t ask Corral to make many full-field reads, more about calculating number advantages pre-snap and making decisions based off coverage tells in those first few beats post-snap. Corral looked like the best player in the draft whenever he got the look he was expecting. When he didn’t, it could sometimes turn into an adventure.

Corral has a tendency to audible to secondary-reads late, panicky, knowing his time is running short. In these situations, he pays little mind to his mechanics. In 2020, he was far too willing to make YOLO snap-decisions with the ball while confused. That year, of Corral’s 14 interceptions, 13 came in just three games: against Arkansas, LSU (in a downpour) and Auburn. 

Six alone came against Arkansas. Hogs DC Barry Odom ambushed Corral by dropping eight into coverage and ganging up on Moore. Saturday Down South opined of Corral that day: “...he looked like how I’d look trying to figure out quantum physics. His reads were virtually non-existent, and Arkansas looked like it had 20 players on the field.”

In 2021, Corral got much better at getting rid of the ball, taking off to scramble, or just eating the sack in these situations. Instead of forcing balls into eight-man coverage looks, he rushed for more yards while slashing the interceptions from 14 to five despite attempting 60 more passes to an inferior receiving corps. 

Corral’s fearlessness cuts both ways. He does not fear being hit. And boy has he taken some big ones. Corral played through injuries throughout 2021 and was finally done-in by a high-ankle sprain in the bowl game that delayed the start of his pre-draft process. I fully expected Corral to opt-out of the bowl game and he didn’t, giving you a good idea about what kind of gamer the kid is. Nobody questions the toughness, but if Corral’s going to keep running in the NFL, he must start sliding to remain on the field.

Corral is not a fit for a traditional NFL offense. I am ranking him aggressively, and I am ranking him from the perspective of a spread offense that likes to attack deep and has a built-in RPO element. Kiffin put Corral on training wheels with progressions, and this is an area Corral’s NFL staff needs to work with him on as Corral sits his rookie season (at least to begin it).

There’s work to be done to become an upper-tier NFL passer, and Corral needs to protect his body better as a runner to give himself a chance of getting there. But Corral is the only quarterback outside of Malik Willis in this class that has a top-10 NFL starter ceiling, with a juiced-up arm, a dual-threat element to his game, and moxie for days. I would roll the dice on him starting anywhere outside of the top-10 if I needed a long-term quarterback and my OC ran a system that suited him.

Comp: Rich Gannon


3. Desmond Ridder | Cincinnati | 6’4/211

Comp: Marcus Mariota
PFF grade rank: 8
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 15
PFF big-time throw % rank: 3
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 4
BTT/TWT rank: 3
PFF clean pocket rank: 10
PFF under pressure rank: 7
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 6
2021 dropbacks: 435

Ridder scouting report


4. Kenny Pickett | Pittsburgh | 6'3/217

Comp: Andy Dalton
PFF grade rank: 1
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 4
PFF big-time throw % rank: 20
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 14
BTT/TWT rank: 14
PFF clean pocket rank: 1
PFF under pressure rank: 16
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 9
2021 dropbacks: 581

Pickett scouting report


5. Carson Strong | Nevada | 6’3/226

Comp: Jared Goff
PFF grade rank: 9
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 6
PFF big-time throw % rank: 11
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 6
BTT/TWT rank: 6
PFF clean pocket rank: 4
PFF under pressure rank: 31
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 19
2021 dropbacks: 580

Strong scouting report


6. Sam Howell | UNC | 6’1/218

Comp: C.J. Beathard
PFF grade rank: 7
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 26    
PFF big-time throw % rank: 12
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 8
BTT/TWT rank: 8
PFF clean pocket rank: 11
PFF under pressure rank: 15
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 2
2021 dropbacks: 462

Howell scouting report


7. Bailey Zappe | Western Kentucky | 6’0/215

Comp: Chase Daniel
PFF grade rank: 12
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 7
PFF big-time throw % rank: 4
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 19
BTT/TWT rank: 12
PFF clean pocket rank: 12
PFF under pressure rank: 24
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 15
2021 dropbacks: 730

Zappe scouting report


8. Dustin Crum | Kent State | 6’1/210

Comp: Nathan Peterman
PFF grade rank: 6
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 20
PFF big-time throw % rank: 2
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 1
BTT/TWT rank: 1
PFF clean pocket rank: 8
PFF under pressure rank: 25
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 3
2021 dropbacks: 462

Crum scouting report


9. Jack Coan | Notre Dame | 6’3/218

Comp: Greg McElroy
PFF grade rank: 16
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 10
PFF big-time throw % rank: 8
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 5
BTT/TWT rank: 4
PFF clean pocket rank: 15
PFF under pressure rank: 19
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 16
2021 dropbacks: 436

Coan scouting report


10. Cole Kelley | SE Louisiana | 6’7/249

Comp: Paxton Lynch
PFF grade rank: 2
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 1
PFF big-time throw % rank: 26
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 9
BTT/TWT rank: 11    
PFF clean pocket rank: 3
PFF under pressure rank: 11
ESPN rushing QBR rank: N/A
2021 dropbacks: 630

Kelley scouting report


11. E.J. Perry | Brown | 6’2/211

Comp: Taylor Heinecke
PFF grade rank: 26
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 18
PFF big-time throw % rank: 37
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 29
BTT/TWT rank: 37    
PFF clean pocket rank: 13
PFF under pressure rank: 36
ESPN rushing QBR rank: N/A
2021 dropbacks: 512


12. Kaleb Eleby | Western Michigan | 6’1/208

Comp: David Fales
PFF grade rank: 29
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 17
PFF big-time throw % rank: 21
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 30
BTT/TWT rank: 23    
PFF clean pocket rank: 18
PFF under pressure rank: 38
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 14
2021 dropbacks: 434


13. D'Eriq King | Miami | 5’9/196

Comp: Quinton Flowers
PFF grade rank: 20
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 2
PFF big-time throw % rank: 28
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 20
BTT/TWT rank: 20
PFF clean pocket rank: 24
PFF under pressure rank: 13
ESPN rushing QBR rank: N/A
2021 dropbacks: 151


14. Brock Purdy | Iowa State | 6’1/212

Comp: Jake Browning
PFF grade rank: 23
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 5
PFF big-time throw % rank: 39
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 12
BTT/TWT rank: 36
PFF clean pocket rank: 16
PFF under pressure rank: 21
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 12
2021 dropbacks: 467


15. Chase Garbers | California | 6’2/218

Comp: Brian Lewerke
PFF grade rank: 18
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 16
PFF big-time throw % rank: 25
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 2
BTT/TWT rank: 7
PFF clean pocket rank: 25
PFF under pressure rank: 10
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 8
2021 dropbacks: 417


16. Skylar Thompson | Kansas State | 6’2/217

Comp: Sam Ehlinger
PFF grade rank: 17
PFF adjusted accuracy % rank: 8
PFF big-time throw % rank: 24
PFF turnover-worthy throw % rank: 32
BTT/TWT rank: 29
PFF clean pocket rank: 19
PFF under pressure rank: 9
ESPN rushing QBR rank: 11
2021 dropbacks: 266


Thor's recent NFL Draft work:

Thor Nystrom

Thor Nystrom is NBC Sports Edge’s lead CFB writer. The 2018 FSWA College Sports Writer of the Year, Nystrom’s writing has also been honored by Rolling Stone magazine and The Best American Essays series. Say hi to him on Twitter @thorku!