Fixing the quarterback problem is a tough needle to thread for the Washington Football Team this off-season. There are two obvious options but neither is particularly appealing. The first involves dipping into the free-agent market at the position, not exactly a route known for marquee names. Alternatively, there is the 2022 NFL Draft, with names like Matt Corral. Analysts do not consider the quarterback class rich in talent, but that hasn’t stopped draft observers from sending a quarterback to Washington with the 11th-overall pick.
Latest PFF Mock Draft Sees Washington Football Team Acquiring Matt Corral
Trevor Sikkema, of Pro Football Focus, is a draft analyst who believes Washington can find its new signal-caller from the collegiate ranks. He thinks Ole Miss star Matt Corral is the best option:
Much like the Denver Broncos, it feels as though the Washington Football Team will be taking a chance on a quarterback in the draft if they don’t add a big-name passer in free agency. Corral has a strong arm, good mobility, and “moxie” for the position that will have some teams gravitating toward him.
There isn’t much chance Washington will find what Sikkema calls “a big-name passer” in the veteran market. Not when you consider the list of lackluster available quarterbacks. It’s a list headed by Jameis Winston, according to rankings by PFF. The group also includes Mitchell Trubisky, Andy Dalton, and Tyrod Taylor— hardly a bounty of riches.
A trade is still a possibility, but Washington would need significant capital to put together the kind of deal required for an Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson. This would prove tough to swing, even though OverTheCap.com shows Washington will have $34,496,544 worth of space under this year’s salary cap. Aside from Terry McLaurin and perhaps one of the two defensive tackles, Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis, Washington doesn’t have much trade bait. The draft is the more straightforward option, but there are risks involved.
Corral is a prime example of those risks, despite his recent dominance at the S.E.C. level:
Matt Corral since 2020
🥇 6,691 yards (1st among SEC QBs)
🥇 49 TDs (1st)
🥇 41 Big-Time Throws (1st) pic.twitter.com/nok3UvQhlw
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 23, 2022
The numbers are impressive, but Corral has his doubters. Among them, FanSided’s Evan Bruner rates Corral’s arm strength as “adequate but not overly special.” Meanwhile, Nate Tice of Bleacher Report thinks Corral is only a “single-read QB at this point in time.” Both Tice and Bruner believe Corral benefited from playing in Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin’s read-option offense. Kiffin’s system certainly may have inflated Corral’s numbers, but that doesn’t have to be a problem for Washington.
Washington’s Scheme and Personnel Perfect for Matt Corral
Corral would likely find early NFL success as a read-option quarterback in Washington. Head coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner worked with dual-threat Cam Newton with the Carolina Panthers and know how to incorporate a quarterback’s mobility in a coherent scheme.
Many of the other members of Washington’s supporting cast—like running backs Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic—also fit a read-option blueprint. Both are converted wide receivers who have the speed and versatility to thrive on option plays. Even tight end Logan Thomas is a former read-option quarterback. He would be able to help ease Corral’s transition to the pros.
It’s a similar story for wideouts Curtis Samuel and DeAndre Carter. They are dynamic ball-carriers able to operate in the backfield alongside Corral and another runner. This touchdown from 2018 showed how Rivera and Turner design plays to take advantage of a quarterback’s rushing talents and to get the ball in the hands of their best athletes:
Curtis Samuel wasted no part of the field on this TD run
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/NWKtxTpsFA
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 4, 2018
Corral, Samuel, and Carter could make this play and others like it work wonders for Washington in 2022.
The franchise needs a reboot at quarterback. Rivera’s team needs a playmaker who will give defenses multiple things to think about. Corral fits the bill, and trusting a rookie in that role needn’t mean another season of transition. Not if Washington retains the core of flexible skill players on offense; not if Rivera can finally kick a talented, but underperforming defense into high gear. If these things were to happen, Washington would have the right structure to properly support a young quarterback and help him thrive as a rookie.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images