NFL Draft rumors: Could Panthers pass on Pickett for a dark-horse QB?

Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Matt Rhule, Carolina Panthers. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Carolina Panthers could shock everyone and take Matt Corral out of Ole Miss at No. 6 instead of going chalk with Kenny Pickett out of Pitt.

Expected to go quarterback at No. 6, the Carolina Panthers could target Kenny Pickett out of Pitt, Malik Willis out of Liberty or, quite possibly, Matt Corral out of Ole Miss.

Peter Schrager said on Good Morning Football Tuesday that, while all signs point to the Panthers going chalk and going with Pickett at No. 6, keep an eye on Corral. Pickett may share the same alma mater as Panthers owner David Tepper and had been recruited by Carolina head coach Matt Rhule when he was at Temple, but the allure of Corral as a top-10 pick is growing with every day.

Had Corral not suffered an injury in the Sugar Bowl to Baylor, he might have been a top-10 lock.

Carolina Panthers could pass on Kenny Pickett and draft Matt Corral at No. 6

While Pickett is seen as the most pro-ready of the top-five quarterback draft prospects (Corral, Pickett, Willis, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, UNC’s Sam Howell), Corral did play in the toughest conference and is coming off a fantastic two-year run as the Ole Miss starter under Lane Kiffin. He is a fiery leader, as seen by guiding the Rebels to 10 wins last season and a New Year’s Six bowl.

Though his leadership, arm talent and mobility have him as a lock to go in the first round, decision-making and size have him as a draft prospect with major boom-or-bust potential. If he hits, Corral might be a better overall version of Baker Mayfield. Should he struggle, we are looking at the next Christian Ponder. Both signal-caller comparisons went top-12, so that is right in line for Corral.

The challenging part about taking Corral at six is what if the division rival Atlanta Falcons end up with Pickett or Willis at No. 8? Atlanta could very well end up with their next franchise cornerstone after moving off Matt Ryan, while Carolina may undergo yet another regime change after another poor decision. There is a lot to like with Corral, but he must go to the right team for him to succeed.

Carolina could shock everyone and take Corral at No. 6, but that could be a disaster should he fail.

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