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Panthers trade up, draft Mississippi QB Corral in 3rd round

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)

By STEVE REED

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Panthers finally got their quarterback, selecting Matt Corral from Mississippi after trading up into the bottom half of the third round.

Corral was selected 94th overall on Friday night.

He is the fourth quarterback taken in the draft following Pitt's Kenny 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 Panthers passed on a QB with the No. 6 pick, taking offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu from North Carolina State.

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Updated April 29, 2022

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