The NFL Draft is behind us, rookie drafts are taking place, and as dynasty owners, we are looking ahead to the upcoming season. In the Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update series, we break down all the incoming fantasy-relevant rookies, looking at their profiles and where they fit.
Name: Matt Corral
Pro Team: Carolina Panthers
College Team: Ole Miss
Draft Status: Third round, 94 overall
Explore more highlight videos here on Corral’s DLF player page.
- Quick release
- Adequate arm strength – can make all of the throws necessary to succeed in the NFL
- Accurate – 73% completion percentage in a clean-pocket final two seasons per Pro Football Focus)
- Efficient passer- 85.2 Total QBR in final two seasons and career 5.1% Big Time Throw %
- Rushing ability- Career 9.0 rushing attempts and 36.1 rush yards per game
- A small-frame narrative was randomly applied to Corral after he was carted off the field after suffering a high-ankle sprain in the Sugar Bowl
- Older prospect and average experience at 23 years old with only 33 career starts
- Wreckless with his body when rushing
- Struggled with interceptions for stretches during his career in the SEC
- First-read system in Ole Miss’ offense leaves unanswered questions about his ability to make progressions and read NFL defenses.
Sam Darnold has been an inconsistent and below-replacement level quarterback for two different NFL franchises. Head coach Matt Rhule is entering his third season and most likely will lose his job if Darnold starts a significant amount of games for the Panthers this season. Darnold is the only competition or Corral currently on the roster in Carolina.
Panthers signed veteran offensive linemen Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman while drafting Ickey Ekwonu at six overall and Cade Mays at 199 overall. The Panthers look to have three solid additions to their offensive line that finished the season ranked 31st per PFF in 2021. The Panthers likely have a top-half NFL offensive line this season after their most recent additions, which could allow Corral time to make plays as a rookie.
New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is known for running a simple offensive scheme that relies on quick, underneath passing concepts which should favor Corral’s play style more than a gun-slinger like Darnold.
DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey are two of the most gifted playmakers in the NFL. Moore’s problem has been adequate quarterback play while McCaffrey has had trouble staying healthy the last couple of seasons. Weapons like Moore and McCaffrey could be Corral’s best friends while doing the majority of the heavy lifting for the Panthers’ offense.
Rhule and McAdoo could decide to go with Darnold and veteran deference while hoping Darnold regains his overall fantasy QB5 form from weeks one-four last season.
Late-third-round draft capital doesn’t offer a lot of job security for Corral. If he doesn’t impress in his rookie season things could go south quickly. Rhule could be fired and the new regime most likely would be looking to draft an early-first-round quarterback in 2023.
There are also not a lot of weapons outside of McCaffrey and Moore. Robbie Anderson is hinting at retirement or trying to work his way out of town while second-year wide receiver Terrace Marshall is coming off almost a non-existent rookie campaign. The tight-end room doesn’t look much better with Tommy Tremble and Ian Thomas headlining a group that totaled just 45 receptions in 2021.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Baker Mayfield remain viable trade targets for the Panthers with Rhule in a prove-it year. If this happens it most likely means people in the organization are trying to save their jobs or Corral isn’t getting the job done in camp.
Corral will have a chance to prove himself during his rookie campaign but it will be while facing a challenging schedule. If he doesn’t win the job out of camp, which is a very strong possibility, he could see his first start in week three against New Orleans. However, a brutal schedule in weeks four-seven makes week eight against the Falcons a very real possibility for Corral’s first start. Outside of not starting at all, after the week 13 bye, week 14 should be the absolute latest fantasy managers would have to wait for him to make his NFL debut.
Corral has been my rookie QB1 since February and he has all the tools necessary to be a successful NFL quarterback. If the Panthers have decent offensive-line play and their playmakers stay healthy, a reasonable expectation would be for him to produce similar numbers to Teddy Bridgewater back in 2020 when he finished as the fantasy QB17.
Fantasy managers will know in year one if they have a valuable fantasy asset. Rhule is in his third year and if Corral can’t beat out Darnold early or the Panthers trade for a veteran then, Corral most likely won’t have much of an NFL career. However, if he does earn a job early and shines as a rookie, he has the profile to be very valuable in dynasty leagues. His combination of a quick release, passing efficiency, and sneaky rushing ability offer a high-end QB2 or low-end QB1 ceiling for Corral.
I used height, experience, rushing, passing efficiency, and interception rate to generate these player comparisons.
A lower-end comp for Corral is Colt McCoy. Both were productive quarterbacks who played well in major conferences but were prone to an occasional interception. A median comp would lay somewhere between Tyrod Taylor, Baker Mayfield, and Andy Dalton. Their rushing ability, efficiency, and size provide a reasonable range of outcomes. The pie-in-the-sky, high-end comp is Russell Wilson or Dak Prescott. If Corral can be an effective rusher and replicate the efficiency he demonstrated in the SEC, his uppermost projections warrant this kind of company.
PROJECTED ROOKIE DRAFT RANGE
In DLF’s May 2021 Superflex Rookie Dynasty ADP, Corral was selected as the QB4, and as the 25th player overall. Anecdotally, in my superflex rookie drafts, he has gone as early as the 1.10. However, typically he can start going as early as the mid-second but can last well into the third round. Clearly, quarterback-needy managers are targeting Kenny Pickett in the mid-to-late first round of rookie drafts. After Pickett, the other quarterbacks are falling sharply because of their lack of first-round draft capital.
Corral is a home run swing in rookie drafts. He was an efficient passer in college with rushing ability and a quick release. All that is standing in his way is Sam Darnold. A second or third-round rookie pick could provide fantasy managers with much-needed depth or even a high-end QB2. It’s a swing I’m more than willing to take.
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- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: Matt Corral, QB CAR - June 25, 2022