Seahawks Draft Profiles: QBs Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder

Apr 12, 2022, 2:02 PM
Seahawks Matt Corral...
Matt Corral of the Mississippi Rebels is pressured by Will Anderson Jr. of the Alabama Crimson Tide. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Our offseason Seahawks profiles continued this week, this time moving from free agency to the draft. The Seahawks are on the board at pick number nine, the highest pick they’ve had since they selected tackle Russell Okung sixth overall in 2010.

Seahawks Draft Profiles: CBs ‘Sauce’ Gardner and Derek Stingley Jr.

If you missed it, we already looked at two potential fits at cornerback (no surprise there, it’s the two best prospects in the class). It’s a weaker crop of quarterbacks, but Seattle may find a fit – particularly in the second round – with two more notable prospects: Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder.

QB Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Height/Weight: 6 foot 2, 212 pounds
Class: Redshirt-Junior
Notables: Set Ole Miss record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season (11)

What you need to know: Corral’s toughness made him a favorite at Ole Miss. He was named a starter for the Rebels in 2019, but his college career took off under then-new head coach Lane Kiffin in 2020. In both 2020 and 2021, Corral passed for more than 3,300 yards and at least 20 touchdowns. Last season he played through two ankle injuries and led the Rebels to a Sugar Bowl appearance.

NFL Network’s Peter Schrager’s latest mock draft has the Seahawks trading back into the first round to select Corral. It’s something they’ve never done before, but given the giant question mark lingering at quarterback, all eyes will be on Seattle – and a few other QB-needy teams – to see if they pull the trigger.

Schrager’s isn’t the only list; Corral’s and Pete Carroll’s So-Cal and Lane Kiffin connections have made it easy for a few national outlets to mock him to Seattle. NFL Draft analyst Lance Zierlein even snapped a photo of the pair meeting at this year’s combine.

Jake Heaps’ breakdown: “He’s no stranger to the spotlight. He was a prominent four-star recruit coming out of California. Recruited by every school in the country. I even got a chance to coach him; he was on my seven-on-seven team at the Nike Opening, and I got a chance to get to know him and saw his talent even as a high schooler, off the charts, elite arm strength. And he’s continued to grow and develop under the tutelage of Lane Kiffin.

“I love that he’s a tough, gritty competitor. He’s somebody who’s going to play hurt. He’s got the it-factor to will his team to win in some circumstances, a guy who tilts the room. He’s got a tremendous, quick release, which is fitting in that RPO-based system. He’s got the arm strength to make the throws that’ll be required of him.

“Cons? He played in an RPO-based system, which requires a quick release, quick decision-making in the short to intermediate area of the field. But it doesn’t require you to have to process at a high level, like the NFL game requires you to do. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the arm strength to do it, but it’s the accuracy and decision making (that can take a hit). These are all things Shane Waldron can work with out of the gate by making the game simple and not asking him to process complex offensive progressions. But these are thing you’ll want him to grow into eventually.”

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Height/weight: 6 foot 3, 211 pounds
Class: Redshirt-Senior
Notables: Third-most wins by a quarterback in college football history (44), 2x AAC Offensive Player of the Year (2020, 2021), holds Cincinnati record for total yards (12,418)

What you need to know: Would the Seahawks swap one winning quarterback for another? Ridder is the winningest quarterback in this year’s draft and the third-winningest quarterback in the history of college football. The Louisville native was a four-year starter at Cincinnati and led the Bearcats to just their third 11-win season in program history in 2018. They followed it up with undefeated regular seasons in both 2020 and 2021 and became the first Group of Five team to appear in the College Football Playoff.

The Seahawks are widely projected to pass on a quarterback in the first round, but they reportedly plan to bring Ridder in for a visit this week.

Jake Heaps’ breakdown: “Every time I go back and study these quarterbacks, Ridder stands out – each and every single time. He’s got a 4.52 40, which is faster than what Russell Wilson ran coming out of Wisconsin. When you watch his career arc at Cincinnati, there’s just continual growth every season. Incredible work ethic, incredible desire to get better. He’s also a great athlete that looks to operate from within the pocket, which can be a con. But this isn’t a dual-threat quarterback who just relies on his legs to get him out of trouble. He’s someone who wants to function within the pocket, has great footwork within the pocket, and keeps his eyes downfield in the midst of chaos.

“Now, about those cons. He doesn’t use his athleticism enough. I know I just said it was a pro. This guy can be a genuine threat with his legs and I think could’ve been even more so in college. But I love the fact that he’s views himself as a quarterback first … I think Ridder needs to be willing to use that athleticism to his advantage a little more, but it’s great that you don’t have to teach him to go the other way around. Another con I see: once he’s off his initial read, his accuracy declines. A lot of that is, I believe, just normal college stuff you see with quarterbacks. A lot of those guys aren’t going through their third, or fourth or fifth progression at a high level.”

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Seahawks Draft Profiles: QBs Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder