Panthers NFL Draft
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The Panthers traded up late to the third spherical Friday night time and obtained their potential quarterback of the longer term.
The Panthers traded their fourth spherical choose (No. 137) and their 2023 third-round choose to the New England Patriots for his or her third spherical choose (No. 94) on this 12 months’s draft and with it took Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral. Carolina had thought of Corral among the many prime three quarterbacks on this draft class.
In 2021, Corral threw for 3,342 yards, rushed for 614 and totaled 31 touchdowns. He’s solely 6-feet tall however his athleticism helps him create off-script performs.
“He was a guy we considered taking in any round, so to get him here is a win for the Panthers,” coach Matt Rhule mentioned.
Corral’s slide to the third spherical was a little bit of a shock, because it was for different quarterbacks on this draft. Although this draft was seen as an off 12 months for quarterbacks, some draft consultants had Corral going as excessive because the late first spherical and early second spherical.
“It was definitely an emotional roller coaster for sure,” Corral mentioned Friday night time. “But you’ve just got to control what you can control. I feel like I put my best foot forward.”
In truth, the entire quarterbacks fell on this draft.
Kenny Pickett was the primary quarterback to come back off the board at No. 20. The subsequent quarterback drafted, Desmond Ridder, wasn’t drafted till the third spherical.
Fitterer mentioned Thursday night time that the Panthers would consider trading up into Day 2. However he added that it must make sense. They tried to get into Spherical 2, nevertheless, groups had been asking for excess of what the Panthers had been prepared to surrender.
In order that they waited. And when it was time, they made the commerce with New England.
Drafting a quarterback additionally decreases the likeliness that the Panthers will commerce for Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield, except both had been to be on an inexpensive deal. The Panthers had discussions with the Browns for a possible commerce, however they by no means got here to fruition.
“We came into this weekend with getting a quarterback in mind,” Fitterer mentioned. “And we did that. We feel good about adding Matt to this group with Sam and P.J. and that was our goal for the weekend.”
When pressed additional about whether or not they had been out of the veteran commerce market, Fitterer mentioned “I would never put an absolute on anything.”
“I think we’re really happy with the group we have, and we’re going to go with this group.”
Discovering a future franchise quarterback has been one of many greatest priorities for this staff because it parted methods with Cam Newton for the primary time in 2020.
The Panthers’ workers spent numerous time with Corral. They had been in full pressure at his professional day final month, sending Rhule, offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, Fitterer, assistant basic supervisor Dan Morgan and extra.
Corral then visited the Panthers earlier this month on his top-30 go to.
Getting into the draft, Carolina was with no Day 2 choose after buying and selling each away within the Sam Darnold trade last year and the C.J. Henderson trade in September. Fitterer mentioned the Panthers view Henderson as their third-round choose this 12 months.
For his or her first-round choose, the Panthers took former N.C. State offensive sort out Ikem ‘Ickey’ Ekwonu at sixth general.
Ekwonu, a Charlotte native, was anticipated to go as excessive as No. 1, however he fell after a string of defensive gamers got here off the board within the first 5 picks.
“To think we would have no picks and end up with (Corral) in the third round to go along with Ickey is really well done by, not just Scott, but the entire scouting staff,” Rhule mentioned.
This story was initially printed April 29, 2022 11:01 PM.