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Three Reasons Why the Matt Corral Project Could Work in Carolina

The Panthers had Matt Corral fall into their laps in the third round, and he could end up being their saving grace.

While the 2022 draft class of quarterbacks wasn’t widely renowned as being elite, it was a shock to many when only one quarterback was taken in the first two rounds, that being Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett going No. 20 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As the other quarterbacks continued to slip, the Panthers took a flier by selecting Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in the third round. With the Panthers seemingly in quarterback purgatory, having one of the top quarterbacks in the class available at that stage could turn out to be a big steal for Carolina in the long run. While there are several questions about what will happen going forward, there are several reasons why the Matt Corral project could work in Carolina.

1. The New-Age Quarterback

The NFL has clearly shifted gears when it comes to looking for a “prototypical” quarterback. Gone are the days of tall signal callers with big arms being the end all, be all. Over the last decade, the likes of Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson have shown that there are more than one way to bake a cake. That’s not to say these quarterbacks are perfect, but their playmaking ability helped mask any sort of shortcomings they had with their arms.

This is without mentioning that the likes of Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, and Zach Wilson are still finding their way in the league. Plus, Trey Lance will get his crack at being the starter in San Francisco in 2022. All have some sort of mobile aspect to their game. Their timetable could play into how patient the Panthers are with the former Rebel.

Corral has the mobility of the new-age quarterback, but also has the passing mechanics in place to be a true dual-threat. He is an accurate passer with a good release. That combination of running ability, as well as being a solid passer, will make him a handful if he reaches his full potential.

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2. Carolina’s Supporting Cast

The Panthers are a team that is stacked with young talent on both sides of the ball. Should Corral take over sooner than later, he will have the likes of D.J. Moore, Christian McCaffrey, and Terrace Marshall at his disposal, as well as Robbie Anderson as a reliable deep threat.

Defensively, Carolina is set for the future with two top 10 picks in Jaycee Horn and C.J. Henderson patrolling the outside in the secondary, as well as Derrick Brown and Brian Burns in the front seven.

The Panthers may not make a lot of noise in 2022, but this season could see a strong foundation set for big things to come. If Sam Darnold and/or P.J. Walker struggle early, what would it hurt to see what they have in Corral? If he succeeds, then the ball will be in motion towards 2023, and they can look to build around him.

3. Corral Isn’t Under Any Pressure

Being that Corral wasn’t a first-round selection, the pressure will be almost non-existent, both for him and Carolina. Had he been taken No. 6 overall, like several speculated he could have been, there would be a ton of noise and weight on the shoulders of both the quarterback and organization. This is the argument that has been made about Baker Mayfield, He was taken No. 1 overall when he probably should have been closer to a second-round pick. If he was taken 34th instead of one, we may be having a different conversation about the polarizing quarterback. Corral has the advantage of not having anything to lose. At worst, he is a guy who carves out a decent career as a backup/bridge starter. At best, he is in the conversation with Dak Prescott as a mid-round steal who elevates his team and pays off as a long-term answer for the Panthers.