Should the Carolina Panthers give Matt Corral a shot in 2023?

(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Corral
(Griffin Zetterberg-USA TODAY Sports) Matt Corral /

Should the Carolina Panthers give Matt Corral a legitimate shot as the team’s starting quarterback during the 2023 season?

As soon as the Carolina Panthers finalize their head coaching plans in 2023, attention must turn to solving the quarterback position once and for all. A series of disappointing trades under center caused Matt Rhule’s demise, so the new appointment won’t want the same mistakes unfolding in pursuit of finally getting this franchise back into contention.

Going down the draft route either via trade-up or from No. 9 overall should be considered. Those in power could also explore free agents or another trade for someone that can guarantee immediate improvements.

Sam Darnold’s resurgence outside of a poor final game at the New Orleans Saints means he could come back as a bridge option. There is also forgotten man Matt Corral‘s presence to consider – something that’s gone relatively overlooked in the grand scheme of things.

There was a quiet sense of intrigue when the Panthers surged up to No. 94 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft for Corral. His production against fierce SEC competition left reasons for encouragement, even though this was seen as a project rather than someone that could step in right out of the gate.

Corral took a back seat to Baker Mayfield and Darnold throughout Carolina’s summer training camp. Once he got a chance to shine, it was with third and fourth-string players more often than not.

This came back to bite the Panthers when Corral suffered a serious foot injury in their preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills. The one-time Ole Miss standout went to injured/reserve and only recently had the screws removed from his Lisfranc complication due to its severity.

Corral is the only quarterback under contract in 2023 as it stands. Reinforcements are coming, but should Carolina give the former third-round selection a legitimate shot next time around and focus on improving other areas of the roster this offseason?

It’s a hot topic among fans currently. When approached about the subject this week, general manager Scott Fitterer wants the Panthers to draft and develop. Whether that’s with Corral or someone else wasn’t disclosed.

"“Eventually, we do need a guy that we need to draft and develop. We need someone homegrown that’s going to be here over a long period of time. Whether that’s Matt, whether it’s Sam that we keep here, who’s still a young quarterback, or someone else. We’re going to keep all of our options open and do what’s best for this team.”"

The Panthers don’t know what they have in Corral after he’s missed so much time. Being around meetings is one thing, but there’s just no telling how losing so many reps will impact his hopes of earning the starting job.

Corral has the intangibles, there’s no getting away from that. But a new coaching staff could have a completely different opinion of his capabilities than those who drafted him in the first place.

There are so many unknowns until the head coach is confirmed. One could argue Corral deserves a chance to establish himself, but the Panthers can’t afford to wait around in the hope he can develop into a consistent NFL starter.

After so much quarterback turmoil under Rhule, stability is paramount. Constantly flip-flopping hasn’t benefitted anyone, so influential figures in Carolina must come up with a concise plan and more importantly, stick to it.

Otherwise, nothing much will change.

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