Carolina Panthers select QB Corral in third round

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers traded up into the third round to take a quarterback in the NFL Draft.

With Charlotte-area native and North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell on the board, the Panthers opted to go with Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral instead with the 94th overall pick.



Earlier, The New York Giants took Tar Heels offensive lineman Joshua Ezeudu in the third round with the 67th overall pick.

Howell was projected to hear his name called on the second night of the NFL Draft but it was his 6-4, 310-pound teammate to be the first UNC player selected.

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is expected to get drafted Friday night.

Chris Seward



Howell will have to wait until Saturday to get the call after he wasn't selected Thursday or Friday.

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It's been a tough draft for quarterbacks, with only Pitt's Kenny Pickett taken through the first two rounds. It's the first time only one quarterback has been taken in the top 60 picks since 2000.

Corral was the fourth quarterback taken in the draft following Pickett, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder and Liberty's Malik Willis. The Panthers gave up this year's fourth-round pick (No. 137) and next year's third-round pick to the New England Patriots to move up.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Corral joins a quarterback room that includes Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker.

He's considered an athletic and nimble runner and passer who can make throws from all angles. While he doesn't have great size, Corral rarely shies away from contact.

In four years at Mississippi, Corral threw for 57 touchdowns and 23 interceptions while completing 67.3% of his passes for 8,287 yards. He also ran for 1,338 yards and 18 TDs.

The Panthers have been searching for quarterback stability for the last three years.

Teddy Bridgewater was brought in to replace 2015 league MVP Cam Newton in 2020, but he went 4-11 as a starter and was jettisoned after one season. Carolina turned to Darnold last year, trading three draft picks to the New York Jets for the former No. 3 overall pick. But Darnold struggled mightily, finishing the season with 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Carolina even brought back Newton midseason, but he went 0-5 as a starter.

This offseason Carolina unsuccessfully attempted to trade for QB Deshaun Watson, who wound up in Cleveland. Earlier this week general manager Scott Fitterer informed Darnold that he planned to add a quarterback.

The fourth through seventh rounds will be aired Saturday on ABC11 with coverage starting at noon.

Howell put up video game-type numbers during his three-year career at North Carolina. He passed for more than 10,000 yards and ran for more than 1,000.

North Carolina offensive lineman Joshua Ezeudu runs a drill for NFL scouts during UNC's Pro Day on March 28 in Chapel Hill.

Chris Seward



Statistically, he's the most accomplished quarterback in the draft but at 6-foot-1 -- he's a little undersized and that puts him behind other prospects. His ability to scramble as he did on Saturdays will also be curbed at the next level.

In Thursday night's first round of the draft, the Carolina Panthers chose NC State's Ikem Ekwonu with the sixth overall pick.

Ekwonu, a Charlotte native, told ABC11 that he was thrilled to be selected by the team he grew up rooting for.
Copyright © 2022 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.