Analyst Mocks New SEC Quarterback to Lions With Early Pick

Matt Corral

Getty Matt Corral on the field for a 2021 Ole Miss football game.

The Detroit Lions are looking toward the 2022 NFL draft, and the predictions continue to roll in fast and furiously about what the team could look to do when all is said and done.

So far, there’s been no shortage of answers that the team could ponder when their pick is due by the end of April, and one of the most aggressive sites at these projections has become Pro Football Focus. The site shares updates weekly on mocks, and a new one has another new offensive twist for a Lions team that could need more than a bit of a boost in that department.

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Recently, PFF writer Austin Gayle put together a new two-round mock, and with Detroit’s second-overall pick, he had one of the usual suspects in Oregon pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. He calls him a “premier player at a premium position” for the Lions to add to the defense.

Where the intrigue begins is late in the first-round with the 32nd pick. There, Gayle had the Lions going with Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. Gayle is a big believer in Corral, saying that he has the kind of arm talent and athleticism that could make him a solid NFL quarterback within the right system. As he explains, the Lions should be willing to move on faster from Jared Goff to facilitate this move. That’s the case so much so that Gayle wrote “paying (Goff) $30 million to ride the pine while swinging the bat on a prospect like Corral is a better use of resources than watching him play Detroit out of the top-end quarterback prospects in 2023 to the tune of four-plus wins in 2022.”

With the team’s second-round pick, Gayle had the team selecting Baylor defensive back Jalen Pitre, a player who was a first-team All-American and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for 2021. For these purposes, though, Gayle’s Corral suggestion is perhaps the eye grabber here. He believes the team should roll the dice on Corral and begin the move on period with Goff.

The Lions aren’t likely to move on from Goff outright, but the team can still find a way to incorporate a new quarterback into the mix. That’s just what some are starting to believe will be the move.

Corral’s Stats & Highlights

Obviously, Corral is a talented player even though he has been overlooked a bit by Lions fans during the pre-draft process so far. While at Ole Miss, Corral managed to put up some great stats with 8,281 yards and 57 touchdowns to just 23 interceptions. Corral is the type of player who can scramble around and make some plays happen with his feet, which could be a huge bonus for a team like Detroit. Here’s a look at Corral showing off some of the talent he put on display in one of the best conferences in college football:

Corral is a potential star developmental quarterback in the making given the strong arm and athletic ability he possesses, and if he were to join the Lions, that’s just what he would be likely to be. Even if he doesn’t start in 2022 immediately, Corral would still be a major part of Detroit’s plan for 2023 and beyond if the team were to select him as suggested.

Possible Lions Offseason Quarterback Plan With Draft, Free Agency

Who could the Lions look at in the draft if they want to do this? There are plenty of options for the team, and that’s especially true after the Lions watched the Senior Bowl last week. While at the game, the Lions saw the likes of Kenny Pickett, Sam Howell, Malik Willis, Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder. Any of those players could be early picks for the team, and while some make more sense than others, the Lions could conceivably roll the dice on one of these names if they are happy with how they can develop. The team could also decide to re-sign Tim Boyle and roll with him as their main backup for 2022 and do exactly what they did last season.

Goff’s presence does ends up helping the Lions in a major way this offseason. The team can select a quarterback if they find one they like and believe in, but they don’t have to make a sudden move whatsoever and take a player they aren’t sure about for the future.

In the end, someone like Corral could make a lot of sense if this is Detroit’s goal.

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