By: James Johnson
- With the NFL regular season coming closer to an end this month, the draft season will officially be under way. One of the events that will kick off the draft season is the Senior Bowl on January 25, of next year. As you all know, it’s pretty much an all-star game in which the best seniors in collegiate football face-off to show their talents to coaches, scouts, and other NFL talent evaluators.One of the prospects who has been gaining a substantial amount of draft buzz, and has accepted his invite to the showdown in Mobile, Alabama is Fresno State QB Derek Carr. His name might ring a bell being that he’s the brother of David Carr, a former first overall pick who as we all know didn’t quite pan out in the league. With such a last name, some might cringe at the thought of drafting his younger sibling, but I’m here to say, don’t mark this kid as a bust in the making for that reason alone. He’s has led Fresno State to a 11-1 season and currently has the Bulldogs ranked 20th in the latest BCS rankings. On top of that, he’s led the team to the Mountain West Championship game where Fresno defeated Utah State and has been climbing the Heisman polls as well. With such achievements, it’s easy to see why he’s on the radar of draft enthusiast alike, and I felt that it’s only fair that we give out a scouting report on a player that a lot of our readers may be curious about. So as the great Terrell Owens would say, get your popcorn ready folks!
- Prospect: Derek Carr
- College: Fresno State
- Class: RS Senior
- Measurables: 6’3, 218 lbs.
- Tapes of choice to evaluate: The tapes I mainly looked at for this report were his ones against Nevada, Boise State, New Mexico, Rugters, and San Jose.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFtuTb9OYZIThe rest of his tapes I mentioned are unlisted. To find them simply go to http://draftbreakdown.com/players/derek-carr/ .
Initial Thoughts and Strengths.
- Well first thing that popped out to me was his arm strength. Previously, I said Mariota (now staying in Oregon) had the strongest arm in this class, however for some reason I forgot about Carr when I made that report. He beats Mariota without a question in that department as his passes come out with a great amount of zip, and velocity as you will see.
- He also has a quick release with that strong arm.
- He’s a better athlete than most give him credit for, and did I mention he can pooch punt?
- When he has time, his ball placement is pretty good.
- He’s developed a nice deep ball over time, and is steady improving with it as well.
- His pocket presence, which was a flaw of his, appears to have improved over time.
- Though this is likely due to the type of system he uses and his familiarity with it, he is a very quick and decisive decision maker. He appears to know where he’s going with the ball pre-snap. This could be a good thing or bad when he’s in the NFL, however if he can get well acquainted with the offense he’s in he can do some great things.
- Scouts rave about his maturity as he is married and has a child.
Weaknesses and Areas in Need of Improvement.
- Not that this is his fault, but like Bridgewater, he hasn’t exactly faced the best competition out there.
- He’s another guy coming from a system in which he hasn’t taken many snaps under center.
- At times he relies on his arm strength to gun it to a WR who is blanketed or window that is not open.
- He’s accurate for the most part, but some of his long to intermediate incompletions hit his receivers high. For whatever reason, to me it appears he sometimes has inconsistent accuracy in this area as some of his balls here are not only too high, but either have to much strength behind them, or have no arc behind them.
- He often throws off his back foot while in duress. Most of the times he does it when I feel it’s not necessary.
- Not that it’s terrible, but his footwork needs a little tightening up.
I’ve seen Carr compared to the likes of his brother, all the way to Tony Romo, and even to Jay Cutler, but one comparison that I like is one brought to my attention by the folks over at Draftmecca.com, and that is his comparison to Matthew Stafford. Obviously the arm strength is similar, but as I said before, one of Carr’s glaring strengths is his ball placement which Stafford also excels in. Thing is Stafford had to develop a little in this department when he came to the league, while Carr on the other hand has great placement heading into the league.
Check out Carr here as he puts the ball up high for his WR, while at the same time throwing it between his wide-out and the sideline where the defender has no chance to deflect it. Good stuff on Carr’s part I tell ya!
Now look at Stafford with a similar throw to Megatron.
Look almost like duplicates huh?
One thing I want to do is avoid comparing Carr to his brother in any way, like some already have. That being said, most have him as an early first round pick going in the top 10. With Mariota wisely deciding to stay in Oregon one more year (told you he should), most now have Carr as the second QB on their draft board with only Bridgewater in front of him. Those are rankings I can certainly agree with, though I’m not too sure about whether or not he should go in the top 10. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of the things I’ve seen in Carr and I feel he is of a first round caliber, but what will be key for him is the same thing that will be key for Tajh Boyd and that’s the Senior Bowl process next month. He’ll have a opportunity to erase doubts as to whether he can play in a pro-style offense (which most like myself believe he can). Some already predict that he will fly off the radars in the process both on and off the field. If he is as advertised there, then I feel he may be very well worth a top 10 selection and could be a hot commodity granted the draft order with teams like Houston (1st), St. Louis (2nd), Minnesota (4th), Jacksonville (5th), Cleveland (6th), Oakland (7th) and Tampa Bay (9th) all currently in the top of the draft order. If you a fan any of these teams, I suggest that you check Carr out in his last game in a Fresno uniform against USC (which he should be challenged in might I add) in the Las Vegas Bowl on the 21st of this month, and also next month in Mobile because his stock is rising, and he could very well work himself in as a top 5 pick in April’s draft.