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Ole Miss' Matt Corral 2022 QB1? Not According To ESPN's Mock Draft

Matt Corral is not the first quarterback taken in Mel Kiper's mock draft, but is he the second?

Matt Corral was on a mission to help bring Ole Miss to new heights in 2021. Challenge completed after the Rebels secured their first 10-win regular season in program history. 

Corral's next step in life will be making that same type of impact at the professional level. With a quality arm, impeccable footwork and the winning mentality needed to play quarterback in the NFL, it's easy to see why several names around the NFL believe he is the top quarterback option in the upcoming class. 

Several names doesn't mean unanimous, though. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. is not one of those who believes Corral is the top gunslinger in the class. In his latest mock draft, Kiper instead has the former Rebel quarterback falling to pick No. 20 and right into the lap of the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

"Like the Saints, the Steelers could immediately contend if they can figure out their quarterback position this offseason. Ben Roethlisberger appears likely to retire. I don't see backups Mason Rudolph or Dwayne Haskins as NFL starters. They do have a strong core on both sides of the ball, though. If they acquire a veteran signal-caller via free agency or in a trade, this could be a spot to target a linemen to help a below-average O-line, but let's assume for now that they go into the draft without adding one. " - Mel Kiper Jr. 

Pittsburgh finished 9-7-1 and made the AFC playoffs despite lackluster play from Roethlisberger in what is expected to be his final season. With a majority of the defense returning, plus quality young playmakers on staff, returning to contention isn't a far-fetched option for Mike Tomlin's squad. 

With a better quarterback option, perhaps the Steelers win a playoff game or two this past season? 

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Kiper has Corral as the third quarterback selected in his mock, trailing both Liberty's Malik Willis and Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett. Willis, the strong-armed passer who once was a member of Auburn's staff, is the first quarterback selected at No. 11 to the Washington Football Team. 

Pickett, who broke ACC records in his final season with the Panthers on the way to being named a Heisman Trophy finalist, is selected No. 18 overall to the New Orleans Saints. Kiper also has North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell sneaking into the first round as the long-term answer for the Detroit Lions at pick No. 28. 

Howell, Pickett and Willis will all have the first crack of impressing scouts up close at the 2022 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. next week. Corral, who did not qualify to make the roster, will have both the NFL Combine and Ole Miss' Pro Day to solidify his status as a first-round prospect. 

Corral finished his final season at Ole Miss with 3,349 passing yards, 614 rushing yards, 31 total touchdowns, five interceptions and a passer rating of 155.3. He ranks third all-time in program history in passing yards (8,287) and touchdowns (57), trailing only Eli Manning and Bo Wallace. 

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