4 Carolina Panthers draft hits and misses from 2022 so far
By Dean Jones
Carolina Panthers traded up for Matt Corral
Trading up to No. 94 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft for Matt Corral seemed like a risk worth taking at the time. The Ole Miss product slid dramatically – as most quarterbacks outside of Kenny Pickett did due to some serious concerns – but the Carolina Panthers needed a long-term project and struck a deal with the New England Patriots to make it happen.
Sadly, what’s transpired on and off the field since then means this move was an error in the grand scheme of things.
Firstly, the Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield, limiting Corral’s time with the first team during camp. Given the presence of Sam Darnold and the bizarre quarterback competition implemented by Matt Rhule, the rookie was a relative bystander during his time in Spartanburg.
Secondly, Corral was thrown to the lions behind a suspect offensive line in the preseason, causing a serious Lisfranc injury that ruled him out for the entire campaign. A major blow to his development and something that could hinder his chances of ever becoming a productive starter.
Thirdly, the Panthers are staring another high-end draft selection in the face, which could see them finally select an elite prospect such as Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. A new regime will also have no emotional attachment to Corral, so hesitation is unlikely if they feel it can benefit the franchise.
Carolina looks like giving up a strong third-rounder – currently No. 69 overall next spring – to the Patriots. Corral is still young and can bounce back, but if the Panthers go with Stroud, Young, or someone else, it completely shifts the landscape.