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Former Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral claimed by New England Patriots

Matt Corral had brief stints with the Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots before signing with the UFL's Birmingham Stallions on Feb. 14 (Photo from the Carolina Panthers)

A day after the New England Patriots dropped backup quarterbacks Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham, Bill Belichick and company have picked up former Ole Miss star Matt Corral to back up Mac Jones.

Corral, who did not make Carolina’s initial 53-man roster on Tuesday, could have been picked back up as a practice squad player for the Panthers if not signed by another team. On Thursday, New England swooped in and claimed the once-hopeful Heisman candidate.

After Carolina drafted him in the third round of last year’s draft, Corral sat his entire rookie season due to a foot injury. Corral being dropped by the Panthers was in large part due to a post-Matt Rhule purge and the franchise banking on this year’s No. 1 overall pick Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

During the preseason, Corral completed 60 percent of his passes for 249 yards with one interception. He also had 47 rushing yards on four carries.

While at Ole Miss, Corral threw for 8,287 yards with 47 touchdowns and 23 interceptions in 37 games. As a senior, Corral passed for nearly 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns before going down in the 2022 Sugar Bowl with an ankle injury.

Corral could end up bouncing back and forth from the 53-man roster to the practice squad. Per league rules, the Patriots can call up Zappe and Cunningham three times each during the upcoming season. Zappe’s demotion came as a surprise to many as the Western Kentucky product played in four games in 2022, completing 65 of 92 passes for 781 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.

The Patriots will begin the season on Sept. 10 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Looking at the New Orleans Saints initial 53-man roster

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