NFL Mock Draft Sends Colts QB Compared to Former No. 1 Pick

Matt Corral

Getty A new mock draft from USA Today has head coach Frank Reich and the Indianapolis Colts targeting a quarterback.

The Indianapolis Colts are set to start a different quarterback to begin a season for the sixth straight year. That new starting quarterback, Matt Ryan, turns 37 in May, so it might only be a couple years before the Colts move on to yet another signal-caller.

Could Indianapolis’ next starting quarterback be from the 2022 NFL draft class? Draft analyst Luke Easterling of USA Today predicts it will be.

In his latest mock draft released on April 22, Easterling projected the Colts to pick Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral with the No. 42 overall selection in the second round.

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Corral Compared to Baker Mayfield

While other quarterbacks in the 2022 draft class have seen their stock rise this offseason from the Senior Bowl, NFL Combine and Pro Days, Corral’s stock hasn’t moved much.

ESPN, Bleacher Report and Pro Football Focus all have Corral ranked as one of the best five quarterbacks in the class, but none the scouts at those media outlets consider him a top two signal caller either.

The scouts at ESPN placed Corral just outside the first round at No. 34 on their big board. Bleacher Report and PFF, though, rank Corral at No. 53 and 72 overall, respectively.

“Corral played in a quarterback-friendly scheme with well-defined reads, so he needs to prove he can work through full-field progressions and make good decisions with the ball,” NFL analyst Lance Zierlein of wrote. “He’s decisive, operating with a quick-trigger release to challenge tight windows and possesses the touch to make challenging bucket throws.”

Zierlein compared Corral to former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield.

“A spread-based scheme and a player-friendly head coach gives Corral the best opportunity to live up to his potential and challenge to become the best QB from this draft class.”

In four college seasons, Corral threw for 8,287 yards and 57 touchdowns with 23 interceptions. He posted a 67.3% completion percentage and averaged 9.1 yards per pass.

As a junior in 2021, Corral averaged 8.7 yards per attempt with 3,349 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Colts Have Needs at Wide Receiver & Offensive Tackle

There’s no denying that the Colts still have to find a long-term solution at quarterback. But Indianapolis traded for Ryan in the hopes of competing for a Super Bowl.

To do that, the Colts may need upgrades at wide receiver and offensive tackle.

Indianapolis only has one wide receiver on the roster that has recorded more than 400 receiving yards in a season. Furthermore, the team’s projected starting left tackle, Matt Pryor, has started just five games at tackle in the NFL.

With the Colts signing four defensive backs in April, wide receiver and offensive tackle are Indianapolis’ two biggest needs.

Still, general manager Chris Ballard has expressed his confidence in what the Colts possess at both positions.

“Matt Pryor played really good for us this year, and I think people kind of ignored it,” Ballard said on The Pat McAfee Show on March 22. “Even against the Raiders, when you go back and watch the Raider game, he was outstanding at left tackle, so we’ll give him the first shot at it.”

On April 22, Ballard was complimentary of the team’s wide receivers.

“Everybody says we just lack complete weapons,” Ballard said. “Well, Jonathan [Taylor] — pretty good. Nyheim [Hines] — pretty good. (Michael) Pittman (Jr.) — pretty good. There’s only one ball now.

“Do we need to add? Yeah, we do, but we also have some young players too who can fall into the mix.”

While Ballard isn’t giving any hints of where the Colts will go with their first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, it will still be surprising to many to see Indianapolis draft a quarterback in the second round.

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