Arguably no prospect in this year’s draft may carry the same amount of intrigue as Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr.
Carr, the younger brother of former Houston Texans first-round draft pick David Carr, is jockeying with Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles to be the second quarterback taken off the board after Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
The former Fresno State standout has posted eye-opening statistics while leading the Bulldogs offense. This season, he threw for an FBS-high 5,082 yards and 50 touchdowns while completing almost 69 percent of his passes.
According to Rotoworld draft guru Josh Norris, Carr has the best arm of any quarterback in this class and has the ability the make any sort of throw – much like that of Jay Cutler. The major issue, Norris states, is his footwork.
Similarly, CBS Sports touts Carr for his arm strength, as well his ability to read defenses and adjust to pressure. One part of his game that often doesn’t get its due recognition, according to Rob Rang, is his athleticism to elude pass rushers.
ESPN ranks Carr has the top senior quarterback prospect in the draft, but neither Todd McShay nor Mel Kiper Jr. lists him on their Big Boards.
Skeptics will certainly have their doubts about Carr, and it begins with his bloodline. David Carr didn’t live up to expectations for a first-rounder when he was taken out of Fresno State in 2002. After throwing double-digit interceptions his first five seasons in Houston, he settled in as a veteran backup, making four starts since.
Then there’s the fact that Carr has been able to put up video game-like numbers against the WAC, and when the Bulldogs faced Southern California in the Las Vegas Bowl Carr managed a season-low 216 yards, a pair of touchdowns and an interception.
NFL scouts and front offices will look at Carr’s collegiate career and see that he passed for almost 13,000 yards and 113 touchdowns. They’ll also see how he struggled against a Pac-12 team in the team’s bowl game, and whether that’s a sign of the quarterback’s true colors.
It’s probably a given the Texans will not take another Carr with their first pick, and it seems almost unlikely a team will trade up at No. 2 to grab him there. But the teams picking No. 3-5 – the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders – could be in the market for a quarterback. So could Minnesota (No. 8) or Tennessee (No. 11).
That aforementioned bundle of quarterbacks will somehow fall into place after Houston picks and/or Bridgewater comes off the board. It’ll come down to the head coach and whether they believe Carr will follow in the footsteps of his brother or has the ability to create his own destiny.
While Carr is projected to fall in the first round, I believe a team could take a flier on him early in the second.