2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Fresno State’s Derek Carr
To prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft InsidetheFilmRoom is breaking down the best 5 prospects from every position. This week we are examining the top quarterback prospects and we are focusing our attention on Fresno State’s Derek Carr today.
The record books at Fresno State still read Carr for every major passing category but instead of David– the former #1 pick in 2002 NFL Draft– they now read Derek, his younger brother. Following in his brother’s footsteps Derek enrolled at Fresno State and helped return the Bulldogs to a nationally relevant team. His time at Fresno State culminated in 2013 when Carr led the top rated passing offense as he averaged nearly 400 yards a game and the team scored over 40 points per game en route to their 1st Mountain West Conference championship.
Carr’s NFL prospect also skyrocketed this past season as he continued to show off his elite arm talent and production. Yet like his brother Derek is easily rattled by pressure– in David’s defense he was under siege during his time with the Texans– and will have to adapt from a wide open spread offense into a more traditional under center offense.
Huge Arm: Has the elite arm strength for a vertical offense in the NFL, ball explodes off his hand, capable of launching the football 60+ yards, has good downfield accuracy as well, can power the ball to the sidelines and can make every throw in the book.
Accuracy: Accurate at every level, short, intermediate and deep, looks natural throwing a football, capable of ripping a pass in between defenders or putting some touch on it, throws a very tight spiral and is isn’t afraid of any throw.
Mobility: Good quickness and speed to elude the rush, not a running quarterback but can hurt defenses on scrambles/extending the play, 40 time was .01 seconds slower than Johnny Manziel and surprisingly agile in the open field.
Experience/Blood Line: Brother was an NFL quarterback, started 3 full seasons at Fresno State, showed good pre-snap awareness, team captain, and considered a good teammate with a great work ethic.
Handling Pressure: Gets easily flustered in the pocket, makes poor decision under duress, footwork/accuracy goes to hell under pressure and generally ineffective when teams blitzed him.
Played in a Spread Offense: Operate almost exclusively out of the shotgun, played in a one read spread offense where he didn’t have to progression read, a lot of his throws were bubble screens, played in the Mountain West against lesser competition and struggled against the bigger teams he faced.
Overall: Unsurprisingly Derek Carr has a lot in common with his big brother David. Both possessed an elite arm and were extremely effective in Fresno State’s spread offense but struggled mighty under pressure. The most alarming example of this for Derek was his final game against USC where the Trojans consistently and relentless blitzed Fresno State forcing Carr to make quick decision in a ‘dirty’ pocket.
It was by far Carr’s worst game of the season and represents a real worry for NFL teams. Simply put, when everything is going smoothly Carr is a special quarterback capable of spraying the ball all over the field. But when things go bad Carr makes them worse with his poor decision making and mechanics under pressure.
Still, Carr has the best arm in this year’s draft and is talented enough to garner a high 1st round pick. Helping his cause was his stand out performance at the Senior Bowl– although it worth noting the top 3 quarterbacks, Manziel, Bridgewater and Brotles weren’t there– where he showed some proficiency in a more traditional offense.
His best landing spot is in a vertical offense like Minnesota with Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner that will fully utilize his massive arm. Carr seems like a reach at the Viking’s #8 pick but it is really never to early to get your franchise signal caller.
Prediction: Top 10 Picks
Other 2014 Quarterback Scouting Reports: