First-round prospect Matt Corral carted off after leg injury in Sugar Bowl

Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, a first-round prospect in the 2022 NFL draft, limped off the field and was carted to the locker room after taking a hit to his leg in the Sugar Bowl tonight.

There was no immediate word on the severity of Corral’s injury, but it once again raises the question of whether players who are going to be drafted in April should play in bowl games in December and January.

The debate about players sitting out bowl games intensified just this morning, when Kirk Herbstreit asserted on ESPN that players skipping bowl games are showing that they don’t love football as much as the players of old. (Herbstreit made no such assertion about coaches who leave their teams before their bowl games to take higher-paying jobs.)

Many top draft prospects have decided not to play in their bowl games in recent years, and NFL teams don’t seem to hold that against them. NFL talent evaluators recognize that players sometimes have to look out for their own interests, and protect themselves from injuries in glorified exhibition games. Corral’s injury is another reminder of what players are risking when they agree to play in bowls.