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Carolina Panthers

"Arrow is definitely pointing up" for Matt Corral

Matt Corral

CHARLOTTE – Matt Corral completed his first touchdown pass in Bank of America Stadium Thursday, when the Panthers wrapped up mandatory minicamp on their game field.

The stadium offered a change of scenery from the regular practice setting for OTAs, but Corral isn't the type to get wrapped up in any kind of milestone. There's too much work to do.

"In my mind, I didn't really do anything yet," Corral said in a final press conference before the Panthers break ahead of training camp at Wofford. "It is a touchdown, but that's what I'm supposed to do. That's what I get paid to do."

Corral is still adjusting to the NFL. Carolina's third-round draft pick from Ole Miss keeps a tight grip on his new playbook, focused on learning a new vocabulary and speeding up the time it takes to process calls mentally.

There's an added complexity to offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's offense; Corral said the playbook is more detailed than what he's seen in the past, so he keeps it with him often to study whether he's in the hotel or on a plane.

Corral said his adjustment to the pro level requires an understanding of plays and how they go together, while McAdoo reminds him there's a "method to the madness." Corral believes he's physically ready, but the steepest curve is mental, so worrying about a spot on the depth chart is premature.

"When I know it, I'll be ready to compete," Corral said. "Whenever coach Mac feels I'm ready, then I'm ready."

Corral came to the Panthers with what head coach Matt Rhule called "natural instincts." Following minicamp, Rhule lauded Corral's ability to scan downfield and make throws, but said he had room to grow pre-snap, including broadening his knowledge of the playbook.

"I think the arrow is definitely pointed up for Matt," Rhule said Thursday. "But that's going to take some time."

Corral keeps the playbook with him as often as he can, and is leaning on those with NFL experience in the quarterback room.

Sam Darnold admitted the transition from college to the pros was a "huge jump," and the fifth-year quarterback said he has helped Corral work through the process.

While acclimating to the pros, Corral has shadowed Darnold's behaviors.

"(I'm) just picking up on his habits," Corral said. "The way he goes about himself, the way he carries himself – from media, on the field, off the field, certain situations. Taking stuff from him, whatever it is, and trying to implement it into my game.

"If I feel like it doesn't fit, then I won't use it. But there are some things that I take away from him."

Following the conclusion of minicamp, Corral plans on spending his time off training in Florida before visiting his family in California. He said he'll make an effort to work with some teammates before they all head out to Spartanburg for training camp toward the end of July.

But even in his time away from the Panthers' facilities, Corral intends to keep that playbook in his mind.

"The process is just beginning," Corral said. "I know it's going to ramp up a little bit during training camp. Right now, I just don't take a day off mentally from the playbook."

View photos of Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, drafted by Carolina in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

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