The New England Patriots made their first waiver claim, adding quarterback Matt Corral to their 53-man roster. The second year QB was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the third round (#94 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Mississippi. Corral was considered a likely round two selection, and Carolina eventually traded up to select him. In a strange twist, the #94 pick originally belonged to the Patriots, and the trade enabled New England to select both Bailey Zappe in 2022, and Marte Mapu in 2023 with the draft capital received. Now all three players are in Foxboro.
Just a year ago it appeared Corral was a potential future franchise QB for the Panthers, but a preseason injury (left foot) derailed his rookie campaign before it began. After Carolina stumbled to a 7-10 finish with Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and P.J. Walker all getting at least five starts under center, the Panthers changed course. Frank Reich was hired as the new head coach in Carolina, then the Panthers traded up in the 2023 NFL Draft to take Alabama QB Bryce Young #1 overall. With veteran Andy Dalton brought in to be Young’s backup/mentor, the need to carry Corral on the Carolina roster no longer existed.
Despite no NFL experience, Corral still has plenty of upside. The 24-year old finished seventh in the 2021 Heisman Trophy voting after a tremendous senior season at Ole Miss. He led the Rebels to a 10-3 record, Sugar Bowl appearance, and finished with 31 total touchdowns (20 passing, 11 rushing) while tossing just 5 interceptions.