Before the season, I identified Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral as the potential rising NFL prospect in 2021. I’ve usually been onto quarterbacks before the rest of the media is. In November 2017, I wrote about Baker Mayfield and why he should be considered a first-round pick. I missed most of the 2018 NFL Draft cycle, as I departed for Basic Combat Training, but identified Kyler Murray as the guy. In August 2019, I talked about Joe Burrow being a potential riser in the NFL Draft. Last season, Mac Jones was my favorite prospect at the position.

This year, it’s Corral.

Am I touting myself as a quarterback guru? By no means. I enjoy watching the position, and I’ve got good people in my ear to help influence what I’m seeing. I’ve had my share of misses too (ahem, Lamar Jackson, Will Grier, etc.) that I’ll not live down. However, I want to take this opportunity to share what I’m seeing and (hopefully) offer some insight into the position.

Positive traits galore in Matt Corral

As a passer, Corral has some remarkably positive traits. He has a big arm, he’s pretty athletic, and generally a reasonably accurate passer. His touch ball is beautiful. He can layer his throws into coverage and over defenders. His release is compact and smooth. I’ve seen him use his eyes beautifully to move safeties and wait until the last moment to look at his checkdown before releasing it almost instantaneously.

The highlight film is full of Corral making huge plays. He extends plays well with his legs outside of the pocket and shows some impressive improbability, too. Corral has all of the tools that a modern NFL offense is looking for.

Let’s talk about some of the bad

Overall, while grading Matt Corral, some incredible tools and traits come off the screen. However, it appears that the quarterback lacks an identity as a passer. Is he a gunslinger? Is he a game manager? It seems that he can do it all but doesn’t settle into a specific role. His size, 6’0″ and 200 lbs estimated, is another factor that teams will weigh into his evaluation – not because he’s on the smaller side for the position but because of the lack of identity on top of it.

“Outside of Daniel Jones, he’s the most inconsistent talent I’ve ever seen,” an NFC East scout weighed in.

It’s not far from the truth. When writing a report on Corral, the word “flash” appears all over the paper. Flash is the proper word because the next play after a positive trait is often the absolute opposite. Last season, he was fabulous against Florida and Alabama. He wasn’t so great against lesser teams.

His footwork is not consistent at all. At times, he will stand frozen in the pocket, waiting for a receiver to get open. His plant stance is inconsistent too, which plays a significant factor in his inconsistent accuracy.

How much of it is scheme dependent?

A lot of the blame for the lack of consistency from Corral can be put on Lane Kiffin’s scheme. It’s a very unorthodox offensive scheme, too. The Rebels run a variety of RPO actions. Zone reads, all while trying to incorporate spread influences into the passing game.

As a result, Corral ends up throwing almost 2/3rds of his passes off of play-action and bootleg action.

This is great for assessing his mobility and ability to throw on the move. Many of the plays stretch outside of the pocket and let Corral read and make a play with his feet. He’s a remarkable athlete and can gash defenses for big gains. It’s not, however, great for assessing his ability as a drop-back passer.

The NFL is watching in a year where no quarterback prospect appears to be separating as a legitimate first-round pick. Everyone at this point has questions. Corral, though, appears to be building interest and all he has to do is play consistently this season.

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

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