One phrase seldom, if ever, used to describe Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Matt Corral before the April draft was “NFL-ready."

Not being ready to start Week 1 was the knock on the entire 2022 quarterback class with the exception of Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, selected 20th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Corral’s offensive coordinator at Ole Miss said he understands, but believes the former Rebels star is closer to being ready than analysts gave him credit for.

“I don’t think he’s very far off at all," said Jeff Lebby, now the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. “If you watch the tape, you watch how he played against the SEC West with a marginal supporting cast, everybody will understand quickly what the guy did and how he put the team on his back.

“It was pretty impressive."

The Panthers thought enough of Corral to trade a 2022 fourth-round draft pick and 2023 third-round pick to move into the third round to select him.

They chose him over trading for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield when the Browns refused to pay more than $3.5 million of Mayfield’s $18.86 million contract, according to a league source.