LAS VEGAS (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) — The Carolina Panthers have traded up to get a pick in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Panthers selected Matt Corral, quarterback from Ole Miss.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – MAR 02: Matt Corral #QB02 of the Mississippi Rebels speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 2, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Matt Corral was drafted at 94th overall in a trade with New England. They traded for a third-round pick next year and their 137th pick overall this year to get Corral.

The 23-year-old, 6-foot 2-inch, 212-pound Corral is reportedly under contract for the next four years and joins quarterbacks Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker on the Panthers roster, both in their final year on their current contracts.

Panthers writer Darin Gantt says “Corral completed 67.9 percent of passes last year for 3,349 yards and 20 touchdowns. He threw 14 picks as a sophomore (including six in one game against Arkansas), but only five interceptions last year. He also ran for 11 touchdowns, showing the ability to move in and out of pocket.”

After leading Ole Miss to the Sugar Bowl last season, Corral suffered a high ankle sprain which kept him from training in the NFL Combine. Because of this injury, he is not yet ready for primetime. Sam Darnold will be the starting quarterback going into the 2022 season.

Head Coach Matt Rhule ensures that Corral will be brought along slowly.

When asked about Corral’s off-field issues, Rhule said that it “didn’t hinder the choice to take him” and commended Corral for being open about his past struggles. He said Corral has one of the quickest releases seen in some time, all the physical tools, and the mental makeup to go along with it.

“This is the only position in professional sports where the best players are over 35,” said Rhule, adding “This will always be a competition-based place.”

The Panthers, according to Rhule, see a lot of potential in Corral.

“To get him here is a win for the Panthers,” said Rhule, later adding “Kenny Chesney and this? What could be better in Charlotte?”

Rhule and Panthers General Manager Scott Fitterer talked after the pick on Friday night that they “got lucky with Corral.” They explored trading into the second round for a quarterback but did not like the high price that came with the trade.

Rhule noted that Fitterer was “unbelievably elite” in being patient about a trade. Fitterer said with the drafting of Corral, the Panthers are not giving up any first or second round picks in 2023 and that it is easier to recoup a third-round pick.

Corral talked about his new team in a news conference Friday night, and how he connected with the Panthers from the start with his initial meeting with Panthers Owner David Tepper.

“I feel like I connected with Mr. Tepper,” said Corral, adding that he and Tepper talked about film and had a meal together.

Corral noted that his “competitiveness” is going to take over and he will want to compete to eventually be the starting quarterback for the Panthers.

With the drafting of Corral, the Panthers are now less likely to pick up Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

“This isn’t a HARD NO but it’s certainly close,” said CSL’s Will Kunkel on Twitter.

On Thursday evening, CSL’s Will Kunkel predicted that the Panthers would continue to find a way to get draft picks in the second and third round on Friday evening. The Panthers wanted to add a quarterback to their roster this Draft and would “rather go young and draft a QB than make a trade for Baker Mayfield.”

The Panthers were rumored to pick a quarterback Friday evening “if quarterbacks don’t fly off the board.” By the third round, the Atlanta Falcons drafted Desmond Ridder from the Cincinnati Bearcats and Tennessee Titans picked up Malik Willis from the Liberty Flames.

“Scott Fitterer is not going to grab a QB and give up valuable assets just to say he grabbed a QB,” CSL’s Will Kunkel tweeted Thursday, “As I said in my last tweet, it’s all about the price.”

On Friday afternoon, the Panthers announced that they picked up rookie DE Brian Burns’ fifth-year option, keeping the Panther through the 2023 season. The 2019 first rounder had 25.5 sacks in his first three seasons. It’s the second most all time in franchise history, behind only Julius Peppers, with 30.0 in his first three years. He also just came off his first Pro Bowl appearance.

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