2022 NFL Draft Linebacker rankings 1.0

This is the first 2022 NFL Draft linebacker rankings for ATB Network. The 2022 linebacker group looks to be weaker at the top versus last year’s class with Parsons, Collins and Davis all going in the top 20. We may only see one linebacker go in the first this draft. The depth, though, isn’t too bad.

You can see the previous part here: https://atbnetwork.com/2021/11/22/2022-nfl-draft-edge-rankings-1-0/

1. Devin Lloyd – Utah

2022 nfl draft linebacker rankings
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Lloyd is probably the only LB in the class with a shot at going in the first round. He has everything you look for in a linebacker in the modern NFL. He has an ideal size at 6’3 235. Long, explosive, and athletic with great range. He has shown he can impact the game in all phases, stuffing the run, in coverage, and as a blitzer. Also an ideal sideline to sideline player.

He shows fluidity in coverage and shows good awareness in zone and man. Lloyd can be fooled occasionally with misdirection. He can also play overaggressive at times and overrun things.

2. Nakobe Dean – Georgia

2022 nfl draft linebacker rankings
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Dean has shown he can also affect the game in different ways. He can cover and he can blitz. He is undersized but very athletic. Dean shows an ability to read run plays and flow to the ball. Dean can get a little overaggressive on run plays. He also can struggle at the point of attack due to his size. Dean could stand to add mass and strength to his frame. He plays best when he is kept clean. Might fit best as a WLB in a 4-3.

3. Terrel Bernard – Baylor

2022 nfl draft linebacker rankings
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Bernard shows great instincts on film. He also brings good overall athleticism to the field. For being a bit undersized he is a good tackler and is a willing hitter. With him having a smaller frame his body might be maxed out around 225ish. This means he might have to play WLB in a 4-3. Lots of special teams’ experience should boost his value. A couple of injuries in his history that need to be checked on.

4. Micah McFadden – Indiana

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McFadden has shown improvement every season, with still room for growth. He has upside due to his highly athletic profile and physical nature. While he wasn’t asked to drop in coverage very often he has shown the athleticism and instincts to be good at it with more experience. He is a good blitzer. He also plays well against the run, although he occasionally will overrun plays. Motor runs 110%

5. Henry To’o To’o – Alabama

2022 nfl draft linebacker rankings
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To’o To’o a transfer from Tennessee has raised his stock this season. While he is a bit undersized at 6’2 228 and looking like his frame is pretty filled out with average length. Overall he is an average athlete, although his explosiveness does stand out. He is at his best playing physical. His instincts while not elite are very good. He also shows some stiffness when asked to change direction. To’o To’o offers very little as a blitzer. He doesn’t show much in the way of ball skills.

6. Leo Chenal – Wisconsin

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Chenal is a huge man who plays a very physical game. He takes on all blockers and does not shy away from contact. He is a heady player that handles communications well. On film, he does not look like he offers versatility in coverage. He may not be able to play on 3rd downs at the next level. He can blitz through and blow through blockers.

7. Christian Harris – Alabama

2022 nfl draft linebacker rankings
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Harris is almost like the opposite of his partner To’o To’o. Harris is an athletic freak, but he struggles some with the mental aspect of the game. He has not shown improvement in coverage. He is explosive as a blitzer. Harris plays physically, and it shows in when he arrives at the ball. Any sort of misdirection gets him caught up.

8. Jack Campbell – Iowa

2022 nfl draft linebacker rankings
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Campbell is a good athlete that shows some good explosion. He is surprisingly good in coverage for a college linebacker, even covering some players out of the slot. His speed and agility of film look to be just average. He is tall with great length that he uses in coverage. Campbell does play too tall which causes him problems with getting off blocks. Plays finesse, you would like to see him play more physical.

9. Amari Gainer – FSU

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Gainer’s calling card is his versatility. He has been asked to do numerous things in the Florida State defense. He can cover slot receivers, stack, and shed blockers, play in the box, etc…Gainer has defensive back athleticism in a linebacker body. He shows a great burst and explosion when attacking a ball carrier.

Having been asked to play all over is also a weakness in that he hasn’t been able to develop his skills. While he plays hard he still lacks some physicality. Also tends to get too high.

10. Chad Muma – Wyoming

2022 nfl draft linebacker rankings
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Muma is another in a long line of 3 down linebackers in this draft. He can cover, rush the passer and play the run. He is explosive and agile. Muma shows great instincts against the run. He is a very good tackler who will lay the wood on occasion. Also, Muma has special teams experience which can only help his prospects.

His straight-line speed and range are only average. While he has decent cover skills they could be a lot better. He also has an injury history that should be checked on.

Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft: Dueling Meek Brothers Edition

With the 2021 NFL season half over, it’s been a yearly tradition for the past 5 or so years for Bengals fans to look ahead to the NFL Draft. However, with the win over the Raiders, the Bengals are firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt and fans have more important things to look forward to than the draft.

Next week’s game against Pittsburgh is a huge game and has nearly all of our focus. With that being said, my brother and I decided to take a quick look ahead to the 2022 NFL draft with this four round Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft.

Cincinnati Bengals mock draft

Vance Meek’s Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft

Pick 23: Tyler Linderbaum, iOL, Iowa

The Bengals have an issue on the interior of the offensive line. Trey Hopkins rushed back from injury and has struggled at times. Right guard has been a revolving door of inadequate players all season. Linderbaum is a bit small, but has tremendous technique and knows how to use leverage to win. He could be a long-term answer at center for a team that has lacked a great one for quite a while.

Pick 45: Jaxson Kirkland, OT, Washington

With Riley Reiff clearly a short-term solution, the Bengals can certainly stand to add another tackle. Kirkland has experience outside and inside, but has the physical gifts to enable him to be a starting NFL tackle. He has great length and moves well laterally. He also should be solid as a run blocker with his movement skills.

Pick 89: Alontae Taylor, CB, Tennessee

Arguably, cornerback is the Bengals biggest need going into the 2022 offseason. The top guys were all gone before earlier picks, but Taylor has nice value here. He has good size and physicality for the NFL. Taylor is a solid tackler and isn’t afraid to get involved in the run game. He is still growing as a cornerback, having begun his career as a receiver. His upside is nice.

Pick 119: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State

The Drew Sample experiment has failed. Adding another guy who can block, but is also a threat in the passing game is appealing, and the value here is very nice. He has enough speed to be effective at the next level, while also possessing the traits necessary to be a good blocker. He could develop into a solid starting tight end once CJ Uzomah moves on.

Pick 136: Isaac Taylor-Stuart, CB, USC

Another high upside cornerback is the pick here. Taylor-Stuart is a very good athlete with a track background. He still shows some rawness, but he also has a very high ceiling. He could wind up being a steal as a day three selection.

Blake Meek’s Cincinnati Bengals Mock Draft

Pick 23: Tyler Linderbaum, iOL, Iowa

Center has been one of the biggest weaknesses on the Bengals offensive line. Hopkins, who had a good year in 2020 before the injury, just hasn’t been good this year. Linderbaum has been the best center in all of college football this year and would be an immediate starter for the Bengals. Protecting Joe Burrow is still priority number one and adding Linderbaum would be a big help in that department.

Pick 45: Derion Kendrick, CB, Georgia

Cornerback is one of the top two or three biggest needs for the Bengals this offseason. Chidobe Awuzie has been fantastic for the Bengals this year, but after that it falls off a bit. Kendrick would be a steal for the Bengals at pick 45. He has legit first round talent, and paired with Awuzie would give the Bengals a feared CB duo. This would allow the Bengals to part ways with Trey Waynes and save around nine million dollars.

Pick 89: Daniel Faalele, OT, Minnesota

Faalele is a mountain of a man on the right side of the Gophers offensive line. He has elite athleticism for a guy who is pushing 400 pounds. He played rugby in Melbourne, Australia, before coming to the US in 2016 to play his first snap of American football. With Riley Reiff a free agent after this season, right tackle is a position of need for the Bengals. Faalele has the talent to be one of the top right tackles in the league.

Pick 119: Romeo Doubs, WR, Nevada

Wide receiver isn’t anywhere near the top of the needs list for the Bengals, but Doubs’ talent was too much to pass on here. Doubs is a different kind of receiver than the Bengals currently have. He is a dynamic, big play guy who has the speed to really be an elite deep ball WR. That isn’t all he is though. Doubs also has the talent to separate in the intermediate and short area. Adding Doubs to this receiver room really wouldn’t be fair to opposing defenses.

Pick 136: Charlie Kolar, TE, Iowa State

Tight end may not be a need for the Bengals depending on what happens with C.J. Uzomah in free agency, but Kolar would be a fine replacement if Uzomah decides to sign elsewhere. Kolar is a big bodied tight end who used to play basketball in high school. He is very good in contested catch situations and will be an excellent red zone mismatch.

Check out Around the Block for all of our content and follow Vance Meek @vancemeek and Blake Meek @Bmeek23 on Twitter.

Detroit Lions Mock Draft 1.0

Junior David Ojabo 55 (Allison Engkvist/Daily)

The Lions suffered another gut-wrenching loss against the Browns yesterday. For the fourth straight season, the Detroit Lions will finish with a losing record. At 0-9-1, they are currently on pace for the first pick, so it’s time for a Detroit Lions Mock Draft.

Round 1 Pick 9 (via ATL): Garrett Wilson, WR – Ohio State

Detroit Lions receive: #9, #42, #63, #73, 2023 ATL 2nd
Atlanta Falcons receive: #1

USA Today Sports

Surprise!! The Lions do a trade back here with the Falcons and take Garrett Wilson with the 9th pick. It may not be popular but the Lions are lacking in depth and need to gather as much talent as possible. A big struggle for the team this year is not having a WR1. Wilson solves that issue right away with his abilities as a route-runner, great hands, elite athleticism, etc.

Round 1 Pick 27: Devin Lloyd, LB – Utah

Bryan Byerly / Utah Athletics

Man oh man have the Lions had their fair share of struggles at the LB position over the past few years. Slow, un-athletic players who cannot cover to save their lives, it’s time for that to change. In comes Devin Lloyd, star Linebacker for the Utes who has been outstanding this season. A finalist for the Butkus award, Lloyd has put up some gaudy numbers this year: 6 sacks, 91 tackles, 21 TFL (!!!!), and 3 INT’s. Having him alongside Derrick Barnes in 2022 will be a breath of fresh air in terms of athleticism and coverage ability.

Round 2 Pick 33: David Ojabo, EDGE – Michigan

Michigan linebacker David Ojabo (55) reacts after recovering a fumble while on defense in the second quarter of their college football game against Washington at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Mike Mulholland | MLive.com)

If you want to talk about someone who has seen their draft stock rise the most, look no further than Ojabo. A non-starter last year, Ojabo has solidified himself as one of the best EDGE rushers in the country. Although he isn’t the best player in run defense, his pass-rush abilities should not be overlooked. The Lions aren’t getting much production from Trey Flowers and Charles Harris is on a one-year deal. Drafting an EDGE player should be high priority and Ojabo fills that void.

Round 2 Pick 42: Kenny Pickett, QB – Pittsburgh

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At this point, it feels like anyone is an upgrade over whoever the Lions are trotting out there at QB this year. Pickett comes into a situation where he can start right away. A year ago, Pickett wasn’t even on the radar as a prospect. Now, he has shot up draft boards with his outstanding season and has shown some really nice ability this year. With Wilson coming in and already having a strong OL, Pickett comes in and brings some much-needed excitement at the QB position.

Round 2 Pick 63: Derion Kendrick, CB – Georgia

Credit: Rob Davis

The Lions have some nice talent in their CB room. The only problem is that they can’t seem to stay healthy, which is an issue. Derion Kendrick ran into some off-field issues at Clemson and transferred to Georgia this past offseason. He has done an outstanding job not only off the field, but on the field. Kendrick had some first round buzz last year but decided to head back to school. Although we won’t see him in Round 1, he goes late in the second and provides instant help at the position.

Round 3 Pick 65: Jaquan Brisker, S – Penn State

USA Today Sports

Detroit has an issue at the Safety spot opposite of Tracy Walker. Will Harris has not gotten the job done and everyone else is on a one-year contract. Brisker is a versatile, hard-hitting Safety who fits really well with Walker’s skillset. He is excellent in the box and near the slot in pass coverage.

Round 3 Pick 73: Zion Johnson, IOL – Boston College

AP Images

Detroit has had some shuffling early on in the season, but their OL seems to be set now with Decker back from injury. They clearly lack depth at some spots, especially on the Interior and go with a guy who has experience at both Guard and Tackle. Johnson is a strong lineman at the point of attack, and excels in the run game. With the Lions being a run-heavy team, this is a match made in heaven.

Round 3 Pick 98: Trey McBride, TE – Colorado State

Nov 29, 2019; Fort Collins, CO, USA; Colorado State Rams tight end Trey McBride (85) runs for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Boise State Broncos at Sonny Lubick Field at Canvas Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Hockenson is obviously TE1 on Detroit and Brock Wright has been a pleasant surprise as an outstanding run-blocker. There is still a need for another reliable pass-catcher and in comes Trey McBride. He’s another guy who has seen his stock rise pretty well and he provides exceptional blocking to go along with his receiving skills. Hockenson and McBride? Sign me up.

Round 6 Pick 176: Cory Durden, IDL – NC State

NC State Athletics

You can never have too many big pass rushers on your DL. Durden transferred to NC State after four years with the Seminoles at Florida State. Not the greatest tackler but he can get to the QB really well and has some nice athletic traits to work with.

Round 6 Pick 180: Steven Gilmore, CB – Marshall

Ryan Fischer | HD Media

Brother of star CB Stephon Gilmore, Steven is a nice Corner with great athletic traits. He has a track record of locking down opposing players, but he does lack size to be an outside corner in the NFL. Another potential depth piece at CB for the Lions who can play the slot and on the outside.

Round 7 Pick 218: Micah McFadden, LB – Indiana

IU Athletics

McFadden is an extremely underrated player in College Football. A solid 4-year player at Indiana, McFadden has done it all from covering opposing players, rushing the passer, etc. He isn’t the most athletic player but he’s extremely smart and knows where to be at all times.

Round 7 Pick 237: Jaylen Hall, WR – Western Michigan

Joelle Sanders

Hall is a solid WR with some good size and speed. His 50/50 ability is really good and would have a real shot at making the team in 2022. Hometown kid who has a high floor could be of real use to a team like the Lions who do not have much to work with in the WR room right now.

That concludes version 1.0 of the Detroit Lions Mock Draft. Be sure to check out all of our other content on the website! To catch the other versions of the Detroit Lions Mock Draft, subscribe on the front page to get all the latest in your email.

2022 NFL Draft Edge Rankings 1.0

With the 2022 NFL draft edge group it is almost the exact opposite of the defensive line. This group is strong at the top and DEEP! Cutting this down to ten was difficult. There were a number of guys who just missed out on this list. You can see the previous part: https://atbnetwork.com/2021/11/18/2022-nfl-draft-defensive-line-rankings-1-0/

So let’s get to the rankings.

1. Kayvon Thibodeaux – Oregon

2022 nfl draft edge
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Thibodeaux is a big, strong, bendy, physical freak of an edge rusher. He is explosive off the snap. He is an active run defender who plays hard 100% of the time and has a lot of power in his body, even with his average size. Thibodeaux does need to work on his pass rush plan and his moves in general. He still could add some bulk and muscle. He has very few flaws and is likely the #1 overall pick.

2. Aidan Hutchinson – Michigan

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He missed most of the 2020 season. Hutchinson is a freaky athlete who can rush the passer and defend the run. He moves smoothly and is fluid. He is known more for his power rushing, but can win with finesse. Hutchinson also has a strong motor that runs hot.

Hutchinson suffered a leg injury in 2020 that needs to be checked on. His lack of production before 2021 also needs to be looked at. He still needs to work on variety in his pass rush moves.

3. George Karlaftis – Purdue

Credit: Quinn Harris/Getty Images

A large power rusher who plays hard. He also has positional versatility and can anywhere along the line. While he is not an elite athlete, he has some impressive explosion in him and solid agility. His flexibility is somewhat lacking. He is not one of those rushers that gets by with bend. Aggressiveness is somewhat lacking defending the run.

4. David Ojabo – Michigan

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Ojabo came over from Nigeria in 2007 and is a physical freak. At 6’5 250, he has great length but can still add bulk to his frame. He is explosive and bendy. He uses a pretty killer spin move. Also, he has great speed coming off the edge.

He is mostly wining right now using his physical tools, he needs to develop his pass rush moves and plan a lot more to be an effective rusher in the NFL. He also needs work on his hand usage and technique. Ojabo also needs to improve as a run defender.

5. Kingsley Enagbare – South Carolina

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Enagbare is a high-level athlete with great explosiveness. He brings good size with a large wingspan with the frame to still add weight. For his size, he also has great bend. He has shown to have already developed a solid repertoire of rush moves.

One major negative is that he struggles in the run game. While he has shown some improvements in this, he needs to continue to work on it. He does have a massive upside.

6. Drake Jackson – USC

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Jackson has positional versatility, having played both LB and DE at USC. Good pass-rush grades, although the stats haven’t been there in ’21. He has great athleticism and upside, and is very bendy.

Jackson does struggle in the run game. He can get too tall and does not play with power. For his size, his length is just adequate. He can drop in coverage fluidly. He has trouble getting off blocks once linemen get their hands on him.

7. Myjai Sanders – Cincinnati

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Sanders is a long and explosive pass rusher. He has vines for arms. Sanders can keep blockers off him with his long arms. He shows great quickness on film. He’s fast with an explosive first step. Has already has an impressive array of developed moves. A great motor that runs hot. Uses his strong hands to disengage from blockers.

He does have a skinny frame and may have trouble putting weight and strength on his frame. His bend is just average.

8. Jermaine Johnson – FSU

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Johnson, a Georgia transfer, has seen his stock go up this season. He is a big guy with a long wingspan. Johnson has lined up all over in his career. He even has played some linebacker. He is very fast and explosive. Johnson easily can switch from outside to inside pass rush. Johnson also has good bend to get to the QB. With being 260 pounds his strength on film shows big time. He also shows a good amount of different rush moves.

Still, Johnson needs work at being able to disengage from blockers.

9. Cameron Thomas – San Diego State

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If you are looking for versatility in your linemen then Thomas is your man. He has played all up and down the line and played it well. He is a very consistent player. Thomas has strong hands to disengage from blockers. He is very good at creating pressure and can play both the run and the pass well.

Athletically he is just average. He is also not a big sack numbers guy. Thomas lacks the elite closing speed that a lot of the other edge defenders have. He is strong at the point of attack.

10. Zach Harrison – OSU

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Harrison has elite explosiveness with a great first step. He is also long with good bulk. He can win with speed and has shown he can occasionally convert speed to power. His lower body can be a little stiff. He is not super bendy. Harrison is a solid run defender that sets a good edge. Makes a lot of backside plays due to his athleticism.

He really needs to work on figuring out his pass rush play. It does not seem like he has one. His motor can run hot and cold. He has a massive upside though.

For more 2022 NFL Draft coverage, follow the ATB Draft team on Twitter @draftrite_atb.

Matt Corral and the Race for QB1

Matt Corral
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Corral, Carson Strong, Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett and Desmond Ridder are all candidates to be the top quarterback for the 2022 NFL Draft. The 2022 quarterback landscape is shaping out to be a much different race than it was this time last year.

Trevor Lawrence was the clear-cut front runner to be drafted first overall (as he was), but the talent beyond him was incredible. Players such as Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, and Mac Jones were all viewed as legit threats to go in the first round, and there were honest conversations about them all going in the top 10.

With hindsight as our ally, we now know that this was not the case, yet all five quarterbacks did go in the top-15 picks of last year’s draft, and we saw three of them (Lawrence, Wilson, and Lance) get selected with the top three choices.

As it stands now, Mac Jones has looked like the best of the bunch, but there is still a ton of growth to be made for the other four rookies, and not many of them are in the best situations.

2022 Quarterback Class

As for the 2022 quarterback class, one could make the argument that the best one of the bunch would have been the sixth quarterback taken in the last year’s draft, and he may not have gone in the first round. So not only is the talent not as plentiful as it was last year, but there is also no consensus on who the top prospect is at the position.

Again, you could poll five different people, and there is a legitimate chance that each person would give you a different answer as to who the number one guy would be.

With that in mind, one of the front-runners to be the first quarterback off the board is Ole Miss’s Matt Corral. Matt Corral is a Redshirt Junior for the Rebels and has started the last two seasons for Ole Miss under head coach Lane Kiffin.

In two seasons (20 total games) as the starter for Ole Miss, he has tallied 6.110 passing yards while completing 68.8% of his passes. In addition, he has racked up 46 passing touchdowns and thrown 16 interceptions, 14 of those in his 2020 campaign.

Although many viewed Matt Corral as one of the top players at his positions, there were still some concerns with his game and whether or not he was worthy of being a first-round pick. Decision-making is one of those concerns, as evident by his interceptions numbers (six against Arkansas and five against LSU).

Corral has done a fantastic job spinning that narrative and eliminating the errant throws and poor decisions. However, there are still a few concerns with his game.

Film Review – The Negatives

The first clip comes from Ole Miss’s match-up against Alabama. The tight end on the right side of the formation will run across the field vertically, taking the corner’s attention and safety on the opposite side of the field. Unfortunately, this is where Corral’s attention is. The slot on the same side runs a dig route and comes open when he makes his cut. However, Corral locks onto the tight end for too long; he doesn’t anticipate the open window when both the corner and safety vacate.

Not anticipating windows and locking onto one read is something that appears on Corral’s tape too often. Instead of a 15 yard gain, the play results in an incomplete pass. He tends to focus on one guy for too long, often missing a receiver coming open late. He needs to do a better job of anticipating open windows and getting off his first read.

Film Review – The Positives

Here is another example of Corral just being half a second behind with his decision. He tends to wait to throw the ball until the receiver is open instead of foreseeing the open window. In the NFL, windows rarely come available, and they aren’t open for long when they do. On this play, the ball should be coming out as the receiver is making his break. Not when he is already flat and getting across the field. The ball being late over the middle gives the safety the chance to play as he does in the video.

Now we look at the positives of Corral’s game as a passer. First, he has excellent arm strength and the requisite accuracy downfield to make the above throws consistently. He shows great touch when throwing the ball deep and often gives his receivers the chance to run under the ball and make a play.

Getting air under the football when throwing it down the field is necessary. This gives the receiver the ability to adjust and run under the football while carrying his momentum down the field.

One trait that can mitigate some of Corral’s issues with anticipation is accuracy, especially when throwing over the middle of the field. Matt Corral is very accurate when targeting receivers in between the numbers. He can put the ball on the receiver’s numbers while the receiver can maintain stride. The receiver then can look to make a play after the catch.

In this clip, Corral executes the pass out of the RPO to near perfection. He starts by getting his base pointed into the direction of where he wants to throw the ball. Corral does this quickly enough to where the safety doesn’t have a chance to make his pass read and break on the ball. Then he can deliver a strike just outside the linebacker’s reach. He puts the ball in a place where only his receiver can make a play. Excellent execution and timing on display here from Corral.

Lastly, one area of his game that pops on tape is his ability to make plays with his feet. Both behind the line of scrimmage and beyond it. As a runner, Corral has racked up 523 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. 195 of those yards coming in one game against Tennessee. It’s more than just his rushing ability that makes him an intriguing prospect, though; he can get outside of the pocket and still throw the ball with accuracy, especially when moving to his right.

In this play, after Corral finishes his run-action, he gets pressure quickly off the edge but is able to get around it with his speed. After getting around the rush, he keeps his eyes downfield. Locating the open receiver, and delivering a strike on the move. Again, the ball placement here is stellar; he throws the ball low, helping the receiver avoid the collision. That would happen if he were to put this ball any higher.

Conclusion

There are plenty of tools to work with that make Corral an intriguing prospect. His accuracy is one, but his ability to make things happen out of the structure is massive because this is where the game appears to be heading. It will only make his early life in the NFL easier if he can get out of the pocket and make things happen because the speed of the game increases. He won’t have to sit in the pocket and diagnose everything to tee and have some room for error.

The clips above are from Corral’s first four games of the season. Concluding how he should be valued heading into the draft won’t be made. That said, there are areas in which he needs to approve. He has a real shot to be selected as the first quarterback if he has done so in the latter half of the season.