Matt Corral and Malik Willis will square off against each other this week. Here’s why this game is huge for these two high NFL Draft prospects.
In any other year, fans probably wouldn’t have much interest in watching an SEC team with a reputation like Ole Miss square off with a non-Power 5 opponent in Liberty. However, if you are a fan of the NFL Draft, this is a contest you won’t want to miss.
It’s not that Liberty will necessarily make this a close contest. The Flames are 9.5-point underdogs according to betting odds from WynnBET. However, the implications of this game stretch far beyond the 2021 college football season.
On many NFL Draft boards, Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral and Liberty quarterback Malik Willis are considered to be the top two signal-callers set to enter the National Football League next year. How these two passers square off against each other could help dictate where they ultimately land in the draft.
Could Willis leapfrog Corral in the NFL Draft
Thanks to a remarkable senior season, most would assume that Corral currently leads this quarterback race. Willis already has two losses in a much smaller conference and has had a couple of rough stretches this year.
Against Middle Tennessee State and Lousiana-Monroe in back-to-back weeks, Willis threw 3 interceptions in each game, via Sports Reference — losing one of these contests. However, he has repaired his status with 7 touchdowns passes and 0 interceptions over his last two wins.
Meanwhile, Corral has done nothing to show why he shouldn’t be the top quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. Though some have questions about his ability to run an NFL offense, Corral has an impressive skill set with his accuracy, quick release, and impressive ability to run the football.
When it comes to tools, these two passers have plenty of upside. So what would Willis have to do to leapfrog Corral on NFL Draft boards?
Though the Liberty quarterback doesn’t necessarily have to pull of the upset against a much better football program, Malik Willis needs to show that he can stand toe-to-toe with another potential first-round prospect in Matt Corral. If he’s able to do so, this will be very telling to talent evaluators and scouts.
Willis also needs to show that he can sustain drives consistently and take care of the football. His six interceptions over the past four weeks have raised concerns. Though he’s incredibly gifted, it’s going to take a nearly flawless game from him to prove that he should be considered as the QB1 in this upcoming class.
On the flip side, Matt Corral needs to be able to take care of business handily against an inferior opponent. In order to maintain his reputation and solidify his status as the potential top quarterback, he needs to have a significantly better game than Willis, as the talent gap between Ole Miss and Liberty is significant. In other words, Corral should be able to feast against Liberty this week.
In terms of quality college football matchups to watch, this one probably wouldn’t rank anywhere near the top. However, if you are an NFL Draft guru, Liberty vs Ole Miss is a must-watch game this Saturday.